A CONTROVERSIAL cycling scheme that saw 70 roads closed to motors has helped a borough win a top award.

Waltham Forest was named Transport Borough of the Year at the London Transport Awards, a year and a half after Mini-Holland was rolled out.

The annual event on Thursday, March 2, was organised by Transport Times magazine. It saw areas across the capital awarded for introducing successful transport initiatives.

It comes just weeks after 6,000 people signed a petition calling on the mayor of London to re-open roads closed by Mini-Holland.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman, far left, and Cllr Clyde Loakes, centre, at the awards ceremony.

Campaigners called on Sadiq Khan to reverse the £27million project that saw around 70 roads in Walthamstow closed to vehicles.

But cyclists hit back urging the mayor to “be brave” in the face of the petition, saying a reversal of the scheme would be a “step backwards”.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment said he was “incredibly proud” of the award.

He said: “Our Mini-Holland programme is making it easier and safer to walk and cycle.

“Through the scheme we have implemented a number of positive changes across Waltham Forest including road safety initiatives, pedestrian priority measures including new ‘Copenhagen’ crossings, improved wayfinding, safer traffic-free public areas and bus priority measures.

“In the past year we also re-opened Lea Bridge Station to passengers after 31 years, providing direct links to Stratford and Tottenham Hale.

“We know we have more work to do, but it’s great to be recognised in this way.”

The awards ceremony took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank in Lambeth.

The judging panel included Professor David Begg, of Transport Times, Janet Cooke, of London Travel Watch, Nick Lester-Davis, of London Councils and David Leam of London First.