Arena trams ‘most congested part of network’ says Bee

Croydon Council’s planning committee meets next month to consider the application to build a massive secondary academy on Metropolitan Open Land next to Croydon Sports Arena. But the Labour-run council’s cabinet member for transport has already suggested that public transport links to the location will not be able to cope with the 1,000 pupils and staff travelling to the school by tram.

Belmont Road, close to the site of the proposed Oasis Arena Academy: the council seriously believes this residential street could cope with daily traffic to the school

Belmont Road, close to the site of the proposed Oasis Arena Academy: the council seriously believes this residential street could cope with daily traffic to the school

The Oasis Arena Academy proposal has been controversial because the planning committee managed to hold a pre-hearing on the scheme where four of the committee – including its chairman – have a clear conflict of interest as current or past governors of other Oasis schools in the borough.

The provisional report to the committee also highlighted the traffic management problems arising from the six forms of entry secondary school, which someone thinks can be shoe-horned on to the old Ryelands primary site.

In the council’s own report, these concerns included “vehicles circulating residential streets when looking for a place to drop off/pick up students”; increased road safety risks, reduced pedestrian time at local traffic lights, and extra traffic congestion.

The nearby Arena tram stop seemed to offer a traffic “safety valve” for the planning committee, offering a public transport solution to relieve a lot of these concerns, if the 915 pupils and 120 teachers could be persuaded to take the tram to the school.

But Kathy Bee – one of council leader Tony Newman’s “top team” of 10 cabinet members – seems to have wrecked that cunning plan with a written answer to one of her councillor colleagues.

It has all the hall-marks of more casualties for Newman’s administration caused by “friendly fire”, as the response was in answer to a “patsy” question from her own side which was attempting to score “clever” political points at the expense of Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Councillor Bee, the council’s cabinet member for transport, was responding to her South Norwood ward colleague Wayne Lawlor, who expressed his regrets about Transport for London failing to deliver the long-promised tram extension to Crystal Palace.

Arena tram congestion

Friendly fire: Wayne Lawlor’s question to Labour’s transport spokeswoman, Kathy Bee, and the unintentional admission about tram capacity at Croydon Arena

Bee’s back-firing response talks openly about the missing Crystal Palace extension providing “much needed additional capacity between Croydon Arena and the Croydon Town Centre (one of the most congested parts of the network)”.

“One of the most congested parts of the network”: and all this before an extra 2,000 or so journeys per day are imposed by adding the Oasis Academy at the Arena.

“Unless and until another means of improving capacity between the Town Centre and Arena is delivered, existing users will experience increasing congestion,” Bee said.

No doubt the local campaign against the building of the Oasis Academy will be flagging up to the council’s planning committee that the cabinet member for transport does not believe that the local tram system can cope with the extra demand that would arise from the new school.

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This entry was posted in Ashburton, Boris Johnson, Commuting, Croydon Council, Education, Environment, Kathy Bee, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Oasis Academy, Parking, Paul Greenhalgh, Planning, Schools, South Norwood, Tony Newman, Tramlink, Transport, Wayne Lawlor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Arena trams ‘most congested part of network’ says Bee

  1. KristianCyc says:

    The council should be fighting hard to have the £100m re-allocated from the “flyover to the flyover” project and fund the tram expansion and cycle strategy instead. The money is there, it is just being misspent on creating more of the problem (private motor transport) and not nearly enough on the solution (walking, cycling, trams)

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