Residents, transport experts and local councillors alike have been strongly critical of Transport for London’s latest half-arsed consultation, on the £87 million road schemes proposed for the Boris Flyover from the Purley Way.
Like so many public consultations, the exercise over the last month or so has had the look of being lip-service to the process, with TfL officials telling members of the community at public sessions that it is “90 per cent” certain that they will go ahead with the Boris Flyover on the A232 over Waddon railway station and towards central Croydon. They have tended to be less up-front with another likely consequence, the bulldozing through Duppas Hill Park en route to widen the route through to the Hammersfield supermall.
Today is the last date for comments to be posted to the Tory Mayor of London’s consultation, which many have said has failed to reach enough residents and business-owners likely to be affected by the proposed new roads. A widespread criticism of the TfL consultation is the complete absence of proper research conducted beforehand to inform the public’s opinion-forming: no data was made available from an environmental impact assessment.
Even councillors from Waddon, the local ward most affected by the road scheme – who had been virtually silent throughout the consultation period – finally got round to sending a letter to TfL, just before the weekend, which also made the point that although the proposal is intended to relieve congestion from Fiveways, the consultation offered no evidence to show that the schemes could achieve that. It seems unlikely that this will outweigh the enthusiastic – and possibly prejudicial – support provided for the Boris Flyover from Kathy Bee, Labour’s cabinet member for transport.
“Spending £80 million on the wrong solution is pointless,” as one resident whose road is likely to be worst affected by the proposed four-lane urban motorway said.
Inside Croydon has received several comments from residents who complained that they had not heard from their local elected representatives during the course of the consultation, including this from someone who had been in touch with most of their neighbours on Waddon Park Avenue:
Our view is that neither of the options proposed have addressed the fundamental issues with traffic on the A23 Purley Way and surrounding areas in Waddon. We accept there are traffic issues and a solution needs to be found, but spending £80 million on the wrong solution is pointless – we will be in the same position in five to 10 years’ time and further solutions will need to be found then.
Our main objections to the proposals (both options):
1. The scheme is named “Transforming Fiveways Croydon” which is misleading as the majority of impacts will be felt further north around Waddon Station and the A23 Purley Way / A232 Croydon Road junction; people have not therefore been correctly informed will not be in a position to respond to the consultation.
2. The main issue with traffic congestion in the area is north – south, not east – west and this will continue for the foreseeable future, Neither of the options given by TfL remotely addresses this issue.
3. TfL have supposedly done a traffic study to understand how traffic moves through the area yet when asked at recent consultation sessions they are unwilling to share that data; how can it be right that TfL will make decisions using information that isn’t available to the affected residents and how do they know the traffic flows for when Westfield is open?
4. With both of TfL’s options, the traffic will simply move 250 yards down the road and recreate the same, if not worse, levels of congestion. The new proposed bypass going up Duppas Hill (option 1) will involve multiple lanes converging into one (A232 and Stafford Road merging) at the end of the new flyover and then splitting out into two lanes again as it heads into Croydon on the existing bypass – TfL have said they won’t join the two flyovers and although commonsense would tell you that this must cause congestion, TfL don’t believe it will in their opinion.
5. Other solutions have not been investigated, such as better implementing current traffic congestion measures, such as the yellow box junctions at the A23 / A232 junction, and even Fiveways itself. If these box junctions were enforced by traffic cameras, the flow of traffic would improve significantly. There is poor signage showing what lanes go where and all traffic for Croydon is routed down the busiest road.
6. New roads encourage more traffic, that’s a fact – both of these solutions will see more traffic on our roads and inevitably more congestion will happen in a very short space of time thus negating the benefit of both TfL’s proposals.
7. One supposed benefit of both TfL’s options is better access for pedestrians and cyclists, which is nice as a vision. The reality is much different however, certainly for cycling – none of this is part of a joined up cycle policy as we already have disjointed cycle lanes that disappear in the middle of nowhere (look at the A232 towards Sutton). As for cycling on or around the Purley Way – really? The day we see Boris Johnson and the leader of Croydon Council cycling there, we will begin to take these sorts of claims seriously.
8. Local amenities will be adversely affected, particularly the park on Duppas Hill – are we prepared to lose such value sites for the sake of traffic solutions that won’t address the fundamental problems?
9. Stafford Road is shown in both options to get improvements due to the scheme but TfL has only removed the flow of traffic from the Waddon side of the Fiveways junction (the little slip road). Is that really going to remove enough traffic to go from three lanes and a bus lane to two lanes only?
10. We all know that the underlying reason for this road proposal is the Westfield development in Croydon. Yet for those people who will be directly affected, the compensation likely to be offered will be peanuts, unlike Westfield’s profits – is that right?
11. TfL have stated in previous consultation meetings that the plans and artists drawings are subject to change and don’t always portray the final layout / look.
12. Finally, whichever of the two proposal is chosen, we will lose McDonald’s, we may lose Pets at Home and it’s Companion Care Vets and the 99p store (depending on if access is still possible). TfL stated at the last meeting that preconstructed components could be built off site and shipped in to ease the build process; this would probably involve large lorries delivering at night when traffic is lightest and the associated noise with this.
- To read the letter to TfL from the Waddon councillors, click here: FivewaysTFLLetter13March
- You can write your own comments and views as part of the TfL consultation by clicking here. The deadline is March 15.
- And you could put your name to the petition opposing the road-building schemes here.
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