Croydon Council’s cabinet will tonight give Jo Negrini, the executive director in charge of planning and development, and transport spokeswoman, Kathy Bee, the task of taking on Transport for London to deliver a new road system around the Purley Way by Waddon Station by opposing the Boris Flyover which City Hall and Croydon Tories want to bulldoze through.
And Negrini and Bee are also to work to save an historic local pub.
The decision, recommended in a 24-page report going to tonight’s cabinet meeting, represents a roads U-turn by Councillor Bee, who originally appeared to favour the Boris Flyover. It is also a minor victory for the local Waddon councillors who have lobbied on behalf of residents against road schemes for the A232 which would threaten dozens of homes, businesses, and also eat into public parkland.
The proposals, as first revealed by Inside Croydon a year ago and put forward by TfL earlier this year, were always a bit of a “pig in a poke”: the Tories at City Hall want traffic to get into central Croydon – that is, to the Hammersfield supermall – from south-west London and Surrey more speedily. Despite £87 million of public money being allocated, the options offered by TfL were solely road schemes, without any real options for better public transport links to Sutton and Wimbledon.
Speaking at last week’s council meeting, Councillor Bee, Labour’s cabinet member for transport, responded to a public question by stating that Croydon Council’s aim is, “To encourage people out of their cars.”
Tonight’s discussion in the A23 Purley Way junction with the A232 is separate from TfL’s somewhat belated thoughts on the Fiveways junction itself, and their new proposals for a diversion of Denning Avenue. Or what is now known as the Fourways scheme. It may seem odd that such a substantial re-routing of a road into a major junction can be proposed nearly a year after another scheme for a nearby stretch of road was put out for consultation, and that all such proposals are not considered together in their totality.
In a statement issued by Croydon Council on the A232/Purley Way proposals, they said, “The council has set out its preferred solution for tackling congestion at Fiveways, which would avoid building a flyover, minimise the impact on neighbouring residents, and save Duppas Hill Park…
“The council’s cabinet is set to accept a recommendation to widen the existing bridge carrying the A23 Purley Way over the railway, and also widen Epsom Road to accommodate two-way traffic.
“The alternative proposal would be to build a new flyover from Croydon Road to Duppas Hill Road to carry the A232, which would have a negative visual impact on a larger number of homes. It would also mean losing a significant amount of Duppas Hill Park – the equivalent of one-and-a-half football pitches, and 30 mature trees.
“In addition the council will be asking TfL to ensure that the Waddon Hotel, an important local building, is retained.”
And in its report, Croydon Council states that it is, at last, working to put people before cars.
The council report submitted to the cabinet meeting states: “Waddon as a place is rather defined by the A23/A232 Fiveways junction, the intersection sending a strong message about the nature of the ‘place’. Connecting the A232 Croydon Road to the A232 Duppas Hill by a new elevated highway structure is likely to strengthen that current message/impression including one of an importance attached to vehicle ‘movement’ over (figuratively and literally) ‘place’. Whilst requiring widening of Epsom Road, Proposal 2 provides more of an opportunity to integrate improved vehicle ‘movement’ infrastructure into the existing ‘place’ rather than imposing a new elevated structure on that place.”
“We feel that the recommendation we have put forward would have less of an impact on those living in the immediate area,” Bee said. “The alternative option of building a new flyover would have a negative visual impact on a larger number of homes, and would also mean losing part of Duppas Hill Park.”
All that said, Croydon is simply responding to the TfL’s Hobson’s Choice: there’s no real choice at all.
“It is all predicated on the idea that it’s personal vehicles or nothing else,” Benjamin Welby, one concerned local resident who has looked into the proposals carefully, told Inside Croydon.
Welby regrets that the council’s latest report is only now making publicly available information which would have been very useful when considering the TfL consultation.
“The cost:benefit analysis on casualties and on journey times (assuming it’s an accurate model) are the sorts of figures that would have allowed for an informed debate when the consultation was first mooted,” Welby said.
“There are still a lot of unknowns, about where exactly the proposed route for the flyover is (the Freedom of Information response I eventually got from TfL redacted that) and what that will look… If I were an impartial decision maker I think I’d be left with questions as to why Option 2 was being recommended rather than Option 1.”
According to Bee last week: “While Option 2 is not predicted to perform quite as well as Option 1 in traffic terms, we believe it to be the better one for Waddon and its environment.”
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