Why do all roads lead to Hammersfield but not the costs?

CROYDON COMMENTARY: In response to TfL proposals to build a flyover to the Croydon Flyover, DAVID WICKENS asks why the town centre’s £1bn shopping mall developers are not required to contribute more towards improving the borough’s transport network

Jammed: This could be a familiar view of Croydon if the plans for Hammersfield are not got right

Jammed: This could be a familiar view of Croydon if the plans for Hammersfield are not got right

I believe that many traffic schemes in Britain were justified on growth figures that have not materialised. In many cases there has in fact been decline of car usage. I would like to think that some of the decline along the A23 and the A232 may be due to the influence of Tramlink which opened in 2000.

Croydon has difficult decisions to make regarding the Hammerson and Westfield development. The developer will want to secure adequate access for all modes of transport and this will inevitably include cars, particularly for major shopping expeditions.

Wellesley Road is/was one of the Mayor’s 100 open spaces and there is an extensive history of designs/ideas to turn it into less of a motorway and more of a green open space. Access from the north is difficult and the road over rail bridges on these routes need extensive work or replacement. One will therefore need to consider very carefully where all the heavy construction traffic for the Westfield-led development is going to be routed.

Ideally, there would be a tram stop on the west side of Wellesley Road to serve the Whitgift new development. Consideration was given to this some years ago. This could be considered as part of a north-south route, but would be very expensive. A possible alternative might be to resurrect the idea of a route up North End.

If it not already in hand, there needs to be a comprehensive assessment of the various options for all modes of transport for Hammersfield. Time is short. There are no guarantees that Hammerson and Westfield will deliver (consider the economic viability of such major town centre shopping malls), yet the public sector appears to have the responsibility of providing for adequate access.

In many cases elsewhere, the developer had to make the necessary improvements at their own expense and risk and have them in place before they were allowed to “open”. One might ask why that is not the case here?

  • David Wickens is a chartered civil engineer and chartered highway engineer. He spent 23 years working at Croydon Council until 2010, when he was made redundant as head of engineering and project management. He was in a senior council position during the development of the tram network



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This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Boris Johnson, Business, Centrale, Commuting, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, East Croydon, Environment, Jo Negrini, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Planning, Purley Way, Tramlink, Transport, Waddon, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why do all roads lead to Hammersfield but not the costs?

  1. davidcallam says:

    Croydon Council and the GLA could have demanded a higher proportion of enabling costs from Hammersfield, but it chose not to do so. I imagine the negotiation was really hard ball in places and that the developer pointed to the lack of any other schemes in the offing and that Croydon was faced with redevelopment on its terms, or continuing decline, probably terminal.
    Rightly or not, the council and its partners seem to have accepted such an argument. We are where we are.

  2. And Gav says that since the public are going to benefit (not his Trust or Foundation, of course) it is only right, fit and proper that they (we) should pay for all the road improvements.

    Hmmm… who gets the financial benefit? Us? Nope.

    Do I get a reduction on my Council Tax if I undertake never to use Hammersfield? Nope.

    As usual, them that has gets…

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