Barnet Council will make "major changes" to the cycle lane along the A1000 Finchley High Road with a consultation now set to be held on the scheme’s future.

The changes, which will see some lanes reopened to general traffic, are designed to make it "more friendly for businesses and car users" after an initial consultation revealed concerns over congestion and parking problems.

The two-mile cycle lane, which runs between Bishops Avenue and Tally Ho Corner, was introduced by the council in 2020 to support government emergency travel measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 200 responses received during a subsequent council consultation claimed the lane – parts of which have reduced the carriageway used by cars from two lanes to one – had led to increased congestion or air pollution. But in January, a council report stated that the scheme had not led to an increase in vehicle journey times, and that pollution levels along the route had in fact fallen.

Council officers gave an update on the planned alterations to the cycle lane during a meeting of the environment committee on March 8.

Geoff Mee, the authority’s executive director of environment, told councillors that the rapid rollout of the cycle lane during the Covid-19 pandemic meant it was "not the optimum design". He added: “We have spent time getting the design tweaked so that it is more friendly to businesses and to car users.”

The environment chief said the"“major changes" to the design would be implemented "over the next few weeks".

According to a report presented to the committee, the changes include introducing a shared footpath and cycle facility from Sandringham Gardens to Summers Lane, with the southbound carriageway returning to its pre-scheme state.

From Summers Lane to Squires Lane, the southbound carriageway will feature a 1.5-metre-wide cycle lane and two general traffic lanes.

Although the A406 flyover is the responsibility of Transport for London (TfL), the council is in talks with them over options to reintroduce two general traffic lanes to the A406 flyover by creating a shared footway and cycleway.

Further changes include removing the lanes between Fortis Green and Baronsmere Road and extending a 20mph zone southwards beyond East Finchley Underground Station.

The council will launch a consultation on the amended scheme by June before a final decision on whether to retain, modify or remove the lane is made in the autumn.

Under questioning from councillors, officers said the changes would be "low cost" and would stay within the original budget of almost £524,000, provided by the government and TfL. They also assured the committee that monitoring of traffic levels and pollution would continue.

Conservative committee member Nizza Fluss said the cycle lane had caused "huge traffic jams", adding that she had received "so many complaints" about the scheme from residents.

Committee chair Dean Cohen replied that he was sure the changes to the scheme that involve moving the cycle lane from the road to the footway would have a "positive impact on congestion and therefore air quality issues".

Rachael Coleman, of lobby group Better Streets for Barnet, said in a comment submitted to the committee that the group recognised changes were needed in places but raised concerns that some of the amendments "appear to prioritise vehicles over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists alike".

She added: "We are concerned this will deter less-confident cyclists from using the lane, in turn jeopardising the potential long-term success of the lane. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the council to ensure a successful outcome for the future of the lane."