The green light has been given to the first stage of a £30million makeover of the borough's museum district - and Kensington and Chelsea Council is bracing itself for a tide of objections.
The council has earmarked £7m for the scheme to transform Exhibition Road, the home of the Natural History and Science museums, into a shared space for people and cars. It hopes to raise the rest of the £30m cost from Mayor Boris Johnson and Westminster Council, which looks after part of the road.
A key part of the plan involves scrapping the one-way system surrounding South Kensington tube station and removing safety barriers, street signs and traffic lights along Exhibition Road in an attempt to make vehicles share the space with pedestrians. Work is expected to start early next year and will take two years to complete.
Deputy leader Cllr Daniel Moylan has admitted there would be anger over traffic disruption. "We should expect two years of protest, but at the end people will thank us," he said.
But one resident at the meeting last week accused the council of imposing a costly scheme on taxpayers.
"Consultation is about finding the middle ground but they are totally divorced from democracy," said Donald Cameron, 61, a retired businessman. "They have just dreamed up this scheme, but who asked for it? This is what happens when councillors have not enough to do and too much ratepayers' money to spend."
However, Onslow Neighbourhood Association welcomed the plan. "I don't object to the money because 30 million visitors use Exhibition Road everyyear and services are pretty poor," said chairman Roger Baresel. "The council stings us £50 a time for parking fines so if some of that is ploughed back into this, then fine.