The trial of a multi-million pound cycling scheme aimed at improving road safety and boosting the economy has started today. 

Several roads in Walthamstow have been closed, blocked and re-directed, preventing cars, motorbikes and some buses from carrying out routine journeys and parking. 

Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs to receive a share of £100m from TfL and the Mayor of London for its 'Mini Holland' scheme, aimed at improving overall cycling facilities in the capital.  

Some residential streets in Walthamstow will be made access-only, a cycle ‘superhighway’ will be created in Lea Bridge Road and Whipps Cross roundabout will be transformed into a Dutch-style roundabout, with segregated cycle lanes.

The infrastructure project being trialled until October 13 is said to "reduce the amount of rat running" and give the "local economy a boost", according to deputy council leader councillor Clyde Loakes.

Roads affected include: 

• Orford Road between Wingfield Road & Eden Road (except buses and cycles)

• Eden Road junction with Orford Road (except cycles)

• Shernhall Street junction with Lea Bridge Road (except cycles)

• Pembroke Road and Grove Road junction (except cycles)

• East Avenue and West Avenue junction with St. Mary Road (except cycles)

• Grosvenor Rise East junction with Eden Road (except cycles) westbound only

• Barclay Road junction with Beulah Road (except cycles) westbound only

• Maynard Road junction with Beulah Road (except cycles) westbound only

The managing director of a 30-year-old architecture firm in Orford Road, Walthamstow fears his business will close and overall local trade will suffer.

Paul Shekleton of Paul Shekleton Architects said: "No way is this trial temporary, they're already resurfacing roads. 

"The council have been very snidy - we only had two weeks’ notice which is nowhere near enough time to get organised. 

"It's horrible. I think pedestrianising Orford Road will close us down - people can't park anywhere. 

"What the council call 'rat running' are normal people going to work.

"If you haven't a car it would be wonderful but will cause mass disruption for everyone else."

Before 10am today, he says several parking tickets have already been "unfairly" issued by wardens and has seen two Zip cars being towed, but argues many people are not aware of the trial. 

Supporter cyclist Helen Booth of Salisbury Avenue in Walthamstow says there is mass negativity surrounding the scheme because people are resistant to change. 

"There has been a lot of negativity with people jumping to conclusions. Some people instinctively fear change, but this will benefit everyone.   

"It is a very good idea and would make our public spaces more pleasant plus enable bike users to use direct routes and make their journeys easier and safer. 

"Businesses will be better; it will help our economy and would create a proper cafe culture. 

"The demographic of Waltham Forest is changing; there is just as many people walking or cycling in this borough than driving."