We can expand Duppas Hill Park and still improve the roads

CROYDON COMMENTARY: This week, in an answer at Mayor’s Question Time, Boris Johnson gave the firmest indication yet that Transport for London has abandoned plans for a £85 million flyover on the A232 across Waddon Station.

But as TfL delays making its announcement, LEWIS WHITE raises more questions about the suggestion that the City Hall planners want to turn the notorious Fiveways junction on the Purley Way into Fourways

I would really like to see these proposals.

What TfL calls a "possible" view of Duppas Hill Road. The flyover, conveniently, is barely visible in the distance

What TfL, in its 2015 consultation, called a “possible” view of Duppas Hill Road. Their proposed flyover, conveniently for them, is barely visible in the distance

The closure of Denning Avenue, even one-way, would force traffic coming from South Croydon and Waddon off Denning Avenue into long detours through the other streets of the Waddon estate. This would expose more residents to more traffic and pollution.

A real problem is that at present, there is no feeder road from Waddon’s Cooper Road or Hillside Road on to the flyover allowing a driver to exit and turn left on to Duppas Hill Road. The only remaining exit for westbound traffic from Waddon would be via Coldharbour Road, Foss Road or Waddon Way — only the last being suitable. Forcing traffic into small, speed bump-infested residential roads is unfair on residents and also drivers.

Looking at the A23 for the stretch of about one mile north from Fiveways, it is a traffic and environmental disaster area.

Before Transport for London do anything to the roads, I would like to see an up-front commitment from Croydon Council to combine the long-disused playing fields of the old Heath Clark school into Duppas Hill recreation ground to become a bigger public park. This much bigger space could then afford to lose a little on its western side, to make Duppas Hill (the road) from the nasty road it is currently to perhaps make it into a true avenue with, two carriageways lined with trees and separated by a belt of trees.

Cabinet member Kathy Bee: she enthusiastically supported the flyover through Waddon, before hearing what local residents might think

Kathy Bee: Croydon cabinet member who may have already seen TfL’s Fiveways plans

This would keep the existing park boundary trees, whereas a widened Duppas Hill Road, as TfL were proposing, would be a tarmac desert. The new road could be sunk into the park by two to three metres, and a second tree belt planted, so that park users would hardly see the moving traffic.

Road projects if accompanied by generous landscaping can actually be better than the chaotic and ugly that we have at present.

All over London, there are many suburban roads where houses were proudly built along the main roads in the days when these roads were used by dozens, not tens of thousands, of cars a day. What was a nice place to live in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s have, over time, become transformed for the worse. They are now sad, polluted places.

It is not wrong to look at redevelopment of such places if what replaces it is far better environment, visually and pollution-wise. Hence, in the right circumstances, I think we should not be scared to look at alternatives, and, in specific instances, demolition sometimes is right to allow the best solution to take place.

If we are not given sight of the options, or enough time to consider them and look at the pros and cons, the democratic process will be ill-served. To rush a bad solution through, when a little more time would have allowed a far better design to be proposed and examined, would be a tragedy.

We only get one chance in a lifetime to get urban designs right. So I would call on Councillor Kathy Bee to be open and bring about a true weighing-up of the many options to improve the Fiveways and A23 area.

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2 Responses to We can expand Duppas Hill Park and still improve the roads

  1. TfL are hardly rushing. There will be further consultations.

    Any construction work will not start earlier than late 2018. Labour opposed taking land from the park for the A232 in the 1990s and we continue to oppose that. The land that was part Heath Clark school is in the draft Croydon Plan for a new school and much-needed new housing. I doubt that TfL will come up with a plan that takes traffic through the traffic-calmed 20mph zone that is the Waddon estate, but that would be keenly resisted if proposed.

    We must be cautious about blighting the Waddon estate by giving any credence to the idea that the Waddon estate will become the main east-west route to the Purley Way. Opening up access from Hillside Road to the flyover would promote rat running with adverse effects for residents in the northern half of the Waddon estate.

    Let’s see what TfL come up with as there will be a lot of time to comment.

  2. Lewis White says:

    Thanks Cllr Pelling for shedding light on a possible school or housing for the old Heath Clark Playing fields.

    We should bear in mind that there is already new housing on the footprint of the former school, so the nett area of open space would be reduced substantially if built over ,even in part, for a new school or more new houses.

    Having said that, in my view the playing fields are currently underused, used as a dog walking area and little else. So many schools today lack open space, so a school, if placed away from the pollution of Duppas Hill main road,could perhaps take up part of the land as a school and associated school parking, and hard surfaced school playgrounds and artificial pitches, and leave about 1/2 as grass playing fields for the school.

    Houses? Well, maybe 1/3 could be taken for housing , but the remaining 2/3 should be combined with the Duppas Hill Open Space to enlarge the park. It would need tree planting and paths to make a satisfying whole– but the right design for the area could be good. However, it needs a proper landscape design.

    Unless proper thought and sketch designs are prepared-AND THE PUBLIC CONSULTED and given good time to consider he ideas–the real danger is allowing us to be painted into a corner, with the road scheme, new housing, school all planned without thought as to the overall design.

    I therefore hope that Andrew’s confidence that TfL are not in a hurry is well-founded, and that AMPLE TIME and PUBLICITY is allowed for the Public to consider the proposals.

    We need to be vigilant –these decisions come out of no-where in the form of Planning Applications. Then the public just get 21 days to comment. Not much, woefully inadequate in reality. Most controversial planning applications are submitted just before Christmas, or Easter, or in early July, when everyone is concentrating on holidays. Beware TfL submiting applications at these times–and Croydon submitting planning applications for schools or housing!!

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