STEVEN DOWNES reports on the latest example of millions of public money being spent for the benefit of private interests
Boris Johnson’s Transport for London wants to build a flyover to link from the Sutton side of the Purley Way towards the Croydon Flyover, as part of £85 million public spending proposed for road schemes along the A23 to make it easier for Westfield to be able “to access the Surrey wallet share” (© Steve “Three Jobs” O’Connell).
According to one London Assembly Member, the plans threaten to “send Croydon hurtling back to a 1970s vision of a car-dominated future”.
The proposals are to be revealed in a TfL “consultation” document expected to be published by City Hall this month. The work has been in progress for more than a year.
The road widening schemes for the A23 Purley Way, the A232 and the Fiveways junction at Waddon will bring to £100 million the total amount of public transport spending proposed so far for the benefit of the Tory Party donors Westfield and their “partners” Hammerson in their £1 billion re-development of central Croydon.
As Inside Croydon previously reported, a TfL “consultation” has already been underway for changes to the Tramlink network in central Croydon, at a cost of £25 million (£15 million from the public purse), largely to ensure that road traffic accessing the Hammersfield car parks off Wellesley Road are not inconvenienced by public transport.
Given Croydon Council’s recent track record in failing to deliver completed bridges over railway lines, the most startling proposal contained in the TfL consultation is for a flyover from the A232 Croydon Road, on the Wallington side of the Purley Way, which would take Croydon-bound traffic up and over Waddon railway station and link through to Duppas Hill Road before it joins the original Croydon Flyover.
“It seems a massive scheme and a huge bill just to make it easier for Mr and Mrs Barwell to save a bit of time as they drive their son home from his grammar school in Sutton,” our source at City Hall said, referring to the Tory MP for the Whitgift Foundation.
The flyover could see motorists avoid three sets of traffic lights in the current, somewhat circuitous route around and over the railway line towards Fiveways, but it would impact a number of local businesses and could see the landmark local pub, the Waddon Tavern, being compromised or even demolished.
The proposals are part of £28 billion-worth of road schemes being considered across the capital by TfL. But not a single penny is being spent on tram extensions – to Crystal Palace or to Sutton – which London Mayor Boris Johnson and his south London sidekick, Steve O’Connell, the Kenley ward councillor and London Assembly Member for Sutton and Croydon, promised when seeking election just two years ago.
A measure of the scale of the proposals to “ease traffic flow” along the Purley Way is shown in the £87 million price tag – more than double what was spent in building the Coulsdon bypass which opened in 2006. Of that £87 million total, just £2.4 million is coming from private investment: from Tesco, so that they can build a supermarket (yeah, another one) at the Lombard roundabout.
There are likely to be concerns about the flyover proposal’s environmental impact – Duppas Hill Road is next to a popular public park and passes a large secondary school – and questions about why the flyover is only one-way, funneling traffic into Croydon. At this stage, it is also unclear exactly which buildings may be sacrificed to make way for more roads.
Prior to the consultation document being published, TfL’s only public comment is to say, “We are working with the Greater London Authority and Croydon Council to develop transport plans that will accommodate expected growth in the area.”
They continue: “Proposals include changing the current road layout to increase the capacity of the A23 and A232 corridors, which might reduce traffic levels on local roads so that they can provide a better environment for walking and cycling.” Notice how the “better environment” for pedestrians and cyclists is on “local roads”, ie. not the ones that Boris’s car-friendly TfL is spending all our money on.
Darren Johnson, one of the Green Party’s London Assembly Members, told Inside Croydon, “This Mayor’s costly obsession with new roads will increase traffic and pollution throughout London. As we know more about the health impacts of air pollution, there is less and less justification for adding to that pollution by laying more tarmac.”
“The Mayor is threatening to send Croydon hurtling back to a 1970s vision of a car-dominated future.
“Tunneling, bridging, lane-widening and road-building will devour London’s transport budget. This city desperately needs clean, efficient ways of getting around such as new rail links, tram schemes, better bus services and proper cycle routes. This is what we need to be investing in, not more roads.”
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, The Riot Club, Dec 4
- St Andrew’s churchyard gardening session, 10am, Dec 6
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Croydon Philharmonic Handel’s Messiah, Fairfield Halls, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Heathfield House Christmas charity bazaar, Dec 7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- David Lean Cinema, ’71, Dec 11
- Mayor of Croydon’s charity Christmas dinner, Dec 12
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Concert of Christmas music, St Luke’s, Woodside, Dec 13
- Opera Soiree at Whitgift School, Dec 14
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Spread Eagle’s Christmas Improv show, Dec 17
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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