The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council have today announced that they have secured £18.8m of funding for the Exhibition Road development plans.

The money will help fund the second and final phase of the development to be completed by the 2010 London Olympics.

The second phase will see Transport for London give £11.7m, Kensington and Chelsea £6.1m and Westminster £1m to make the £18.8m package. Combined, the entire two-phase project comes to £25m.

It will be used to implement a scheme, designed by architect Dixon Jones, which will comprise the repaving of Exhibition Road as a single surface extending from South Kensington Station up to, but not including the junction of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road, then continuing north to the junction with Kensington Gore at the entrance to Hyde Park.

Contractor Balfour Beatty has been appointed to carry out the initial ‘pre-construction’ with work due to start in October 2009.

Today’s funding announcement follows Transport for London’s promise to provide a total £13.3m towards the whole project to transform the area.

Cllr Merrick Cockell, leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: ‘This is a significant step forward and will allow detailed designs to be completed over the coming months. The intention is for work to start this Autumn with the view that is will completed by the end of 2011 – well ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics Games.’

Cllr Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council, said: ‘With the funding finalised we can now press ahead with the improvements.

‘We are fully committed in playing our part in delivering the best possible scheme. We are already investing in major improvements to the West End and Exhibition Road will complement this work perfectly.’

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's director of transport policy, said: ‘Parts of the project will involve new approaches to street space being taken, and we are pleased that Kensington & Chelsea is working closely with an access group with the aim of ensuring that the needs of all disability groups, in particular those with limited mobility and the visually impaired, are taken into account in the final design.’

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