£85m TfL road schemes include flyover to Croydon Flyover

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”.

Traffic congestion on the Purley Way: TfL's got a scheme to speed cars on their way towards Croydon's shopping centre

Traffic congestion on the Purley Way: TfL’s got a scheme to speed cars on their way towards Croydon’s shopping centre

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.

Under threat? The fate of the landmark Waddon Tavern could be in jeopardy if a flyover scheme goes ahead

Under threat? The fate of the landmark Waddon Tavern could be in jeopardy if a flyover scheme goes ahead

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.”

Waddon StationFor “expected growth”, read the Hammersfield mega-mall.

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

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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5 Responses to £85m TfL road schemes include flyover to Croydon Flyover

  1. Here we go; back to the future.
    The Waddon Goods Yard ‘traffic enhancement’ predates Hammersfield by a good few decades.
    As I recall, it was the dualling of Duppas Hill, requiring the purloining of a strip of parkland, that did for it last time.
    And it was Labour councillors from Waddon who whipped up opposition then; will they be allowed to do so again? Surely not, since they have already given their wholehearted approval to the Hammersfield scheme and they must have realised when they did so that we can’t have one without the other.

  2. KristianCyc says:

    History teaches us that investing huge sums of money in building roads designed for motor traffic makes things better for walking and cycling, doesn’t it?

    Are they stupid, or are they convinced that we are?

  3. I look forward to seeing their ideas. To give adequate clearance over the A23 and railway, ramps will needs to be over 100m long. They will have a massive visual impact, be challenging to construct and I anticipate that many properties (especially to the west of the A23) will be at risk. If the scheme(s) are to improve access to Westfield then they will fail. The Park Lane Gyratory and Wellesley Road will remain “pinch points” and Croydon Council have repeatedly promoted schemes on them that reduce capacity for vehicles, even to the extent of proposing closure of the underpass. Option 1 for the Tramlink loop will compromise the underpass so there needs to be some joined up thinking. Also, if Westfield does plan for an opening in 2019, time is very short as such a major grade separated junction, involving railway possessions, utility diversions, compulsory land purchase etc will take all of that time to deliver.

  4. east1956 says:

    Dear RiffRaff, what a wonderful vision on such a gloomy day, Croydon’s shopping centres full of the right sort of person for once. The only fly in the ointment being that Croydon’s “retail offer” (to use the parlance of the moment!) is hardly what one imagines would draw the good burghers of Sutton to Croydon rather than Royal Kingston upon Thames, or even popping up West for :Liberty’s and the like.
    One could create a gated retail centre, where the only poor people allowed in would be sales assistants and cleaners, to guarantee a particularly luxurious retail experience and that might attract enough of the right people to drive the change in Croydon’s retail offer.
    While it is momentarily chic to claim to also shop in Lidl and Aldi, the right sort of people simply don’t look to the array of £1 and 99 pence stores that are increasingly characterising Croydon’s retail offer.
    That is not to suggest that Poundland etc do not have their place in the UK retail market, but that place is Wigan, Stoke on Trent, Birkenhead or Goole, but not in a town aspiring to attract the wealthy of Sutton and presumably Bromley.
    One wonders where the money for all this construction is coming from. I do hope that Boris is going for a balanced budget and closing down some of those unnecessary projects in schools and on council estates for lazy good for nothings.

  5. I like Croydon, and have worked in the borough on and off for 30 years, although I live just outside in Merton. I do have to negotiate Fiveways and the Waddon Goods Yard junctions by car several times a month, and they could definitely do with some improving. Yes, we need good public transport, but we need to cater for road users as well.

    The weekend and rush-hour snarls in this area need sorting, and extending Tramlink, adding more cycle provision and running more buses won’t help that much. If we want Croydon to be a success, and I do, then it needs to encourage MORE of all sorts of visitors, and that includes more people travelling by car.

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