Transport experts have condemned the £85 million proposals, including a flyover to the Croydon Flyover, as bad policy, and have criticised the public consultation as seriously flawed and possibly intended to mislead.
The consultation was launched this week, and proposes building a six-lane urban motorway which threatens the future of dozens of homes, a public park and two schools. Neither option offered by the consultation manages to remove the junction where the A232 Croydon Road meets the Purley Way – which is one of the principle justifications given by the car-friendly London Mayor and Labour-run Croydon Council for building the costly new roads.
The consultation is being run jointly by Croydon’s Labour-run council, Transport for London and the office of the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. It has been enthusiastically backed by the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, Gavin Barwell.
Christian Wolmar is a nationally renowned transport journalist who has declared himself as a candidate for selection to stand for London Mayor in 2016. He criticises the Fiveways proposals for undermining sustainable transport policy in the interests of the £1 billion Hammersfield development in the centre of Croydon.
“This proposal seems entirely geared towards meeting the needs of a developer, rather than improving the situation for local people,” Wolmar told Inside Croydon.
“Croydon is already one of the areas of London which is most oriented towards the car, despite the success of Tramlink. Future development should be geared around sustainable modes of transport, and not attempting to meet increases in car use stimulated by local planning policies.”
But it is the detail of the proposals which appear to be seriously flawed.
The consultation offers two options. Both involve major re-working of the roads leading to the Purley Way, with the intention of reducing the traffic volumes at the ever-congested Fiveways junction.
The second option would widen Epsom Road, alongside Waddon Station, to make it two-way, taking Croydon-bound traffic off the A23 before it reaches Fiveways.
The “big scheme”, what the officials call Proposal 1, is for a six-lane road bridge built across the former goods yard and railway lines, linking Croydon Road to Duppas Hill Road.
Such a scheme might have some logic to it if the bridge was built to traverse the Purley Way, taking traffic over the A23. It is understood that this was the original intention.
But according to the consultation documents distributed so far, the busy A232/A23 junction will remain, with the Boris Flyover to the Croydon Flyover only being built from the former goods yard next to Waddon Station.
David Wickens is a former senior Croydon Council official with years of experience of major transport engineering schemes in and around the borough, including the introduction of Tramlink. When Inside Croydon first reported the outline of the scheme last year, he sounded scepticism, saying, “If the scheme(s) are to improve access to Westfield, then they will fail.”
Now he’s seen more detail of the proposals offered by the consultation, Wickens is even more convinced that they are flawed in a number of respects, and will require building on a “considerable amount” of the public park on Duppas Hill.
“The layout for Proposal 1 contradicts the artist’s impression on the TfL website. The new ‘bridge’ is shown on the plan as carrying all traffic east-west at Duppas Hill Road,” Wickens said.
“However the artist’s impression, which I think represents the true scheme, has on and off slip roads for Epsom/Stafford Road. These are not apparent on the plan. Furthermore the service road is not shown accurately as it has no direct access on to Duppas Hill Road.
“All this combines to give the impression on the plan that the modified Duppas Hill Road is two lanes wide. However the proposal is for six lanes near the eastern end of the new bridge, presumably reducing to four lanes to the east as it approaches the existing flyover.
“It will take a considerable amount of land from the park,” Wickens warned.
“Previous reports suggested that the new bridge would also cross the A23. As it does not, I can see major congestion at the new “at grade” A23/A232 junction.
“It is far from clear as to how northbound traffic on the A23 is expected to head east into Croydon. Will it still use Stafford Road or have to turn right at the A23/A232 junction?
“Surely this is one of the routes that will be under pressure from Hammersfield traffic, but I don’t think there will be much improvement in journey times.
“I have to say I am disappointed by the quality of these plans. I wonder who is responsible, TfL or a consultant, and was there an intention to mislead?”
- There may be more details available – there can hardly be less detail available – at three public exhibitions, at Waddon Leisure Centre today (Feb 7) from 9am to 1pm, and next Wednesday (Feb 11) from 4pm to 8pm, and then the following day (Feb 12) at the Clocktower from 10am to 2pm. So loads of opportunity for the hard-working people of Croydon to see the schemes if they take time out of their jobs.
- The public consultation closes on March 15. You can view the scant detail online, and post your comments here
- How Inside Croydon broke the story of the plans for the flyover to the Croydon Flyover
- Longer trams could save London millions, say LibDems
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
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