More Wellesley Road works coming down the tram tracks

Anyone enduring the traffic jams along Wellesley Road since the weekend, you’ll be delighted to know there could be more on the way.

There's more traffic jams coming to central Croydon over the next 12 months

There’s more traffic jams coming to central Croydon over the next 12 months

Croydon Council quietly dropped its “Connected Croydon” tag for its street improvement works, because eventually even the brains trust at Fisher’s Folly, the council head offices, realised that such a title was beyond parody.

So no one should be surprised that while Croydon Council is spending £2million on a road scheme on the town centre’s six-lane urban motorway, Transport for London could be coming back soon to dig up much of it to re-configure the tram route along much of the same stretch of road. Another triumph of local authority planning and co-ordination.

Wellesley Road has been a slow-moving car park since the weekend, when resurfacing works – being conducted overnight, apparently to reduce traffic congestion – left lane closures and diversions around the underpass from the junction with George Street through to Lansdowne Road.

This was all originally proposed in 2014, and due to be completed that year. Oh well. You can see the scant detail provided to the public at the time by clicking here to see their pdf leaflet.

The council's road plan. Sketchy, at best

The council’s Wellesley Road plan. Sketchy, at best. The use of the word ‘improvements’ might also stretch the usual definition of the word

The scheme includes significant changes in the road layout, with pedestrian underpasses removed and including removal of the U-turn at West Croydon for traffic exiting the Whitgift Centre and wishing to travel south. Under Croydon Council’s new road layout, those vehicles will now have to drive further out of their way, to the IYLO roundabout, to be able to head in their desired direction, adding extra exhaust pollution to the already noxious air quality in the area.

And Inside Croydon has learned that TfL, which has responsibility for the trams but not for this road, wants to dig up a large part of this stretch to install its new loop of tram track.

Both the council’s road works on Wellesley Road and TfL’s tram loop are being done largely at the behest of Westfield, for the benefit of those driving to its £1.4billion supermall, for which the developers’ revised planning application has yet to be submitted, and for which there is no guarantee that the shopping centre will ever be built.

TfL wants to build a new loop of the tram lines around Dingwall Road, the first significant addition to the network since it opened 17 years ago. Rather than run longer trams to cope with anticipated extra passenger numbers, the loop will lengthen tram journeys but reduce the need for road traffic to be stopped at lights waiting for passing trams.

A public consultation on the scheme closed in December 2014, with TfL conducting a further round of consulting done in 2015. Since when, silence.

Until last week, that is, when TfL slipped out its first comment on the project in nearly two years with this one-line statement: “We are continuing to develop this project and anticipate submitting a TWAO application in late 2017” (where TWAO means Transport and Works Act order).

So any suspicions that the bad idea had been dropped altogether might not be well founded. But it hardly appears as if TfL is mustard keen to pursue the project now.

In any case, what’s the rush? The Westfield and Hammerson supermall won’t be opening now until 2022 at the earliest…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Connected Croydon, Croydon Council, Planning, TfL, Tramlink, Transport, West Croydon, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to More Wellesley Road works coming down the tram tracks

  1. croydonres says:

    Thanks for highlighting the removal of the U turn just up the Wellesley Road road towards W Croydon, that currently allows Southbound traffic to exit from the Whitgift Centre car park. If this is true, which I assume it is as you have said so, it must emanate from the same convoluted traffic planning mastermind who devised the road layout around the NLA Tower. Could there be a saboteur on the loose at Croydon Council HQ, employed by the owners of Blue Water and Lakeside, who wants to scupper the future success of Croydon as a shopping centre?

    As you say, drivers leaving the car park will now have to drive much further Northwards, and go round the roundabout island by Spurgeon’s with the newish flats ( I am assuming this is the IYLO site you mention). It must add over half a mile for them, add 8 minutes or so to their homeward trip (much more on a wet Saturday afternoon at 5 pm) , add yet more congestion on to the inadequate and already jammed roads on this area, and also dump a huge amount of pollution into the air, to be breathed by the hapless residents of this bonkers block. Wow! that’s real planning genius!

    Presumably, a huge number of people won’t bother to do this extra traffic trauma at the end of their shopping trip. One trip will give them the message that it’s not worth the bovver. On their next intended trip to Croydon, will they visit the car parks to the South of the town centre and walk up to the Whitgift ?. Maybe, maybe not. Or could it be “Goodbye Croydon–hello Bluewater / Lakeside”? Yep, that’s what a lot of people already do. Apart from the huge loss to Croydon’s tills, think about all that extra pollution caused by the trip to Dartford or Essex! I bet the shopping centre accountants over there are chuckling at the thought.

  2. I believe that the Wellesley Road traffic arrangements are planned to be completely different if Hammersfield goes ahead. The current works are just a taster of the disruption that will cause and I do wonder why they are happening if the Council is confident about Hammersfield?

  3. veeanne2015 says:

    So closing the U-turn in Wellesley Road with its separate lane that didn’t block other traffic and avoided the Station Road junction area, making vehicles travel up to St. James’ Gyratory and back again through both very congested areas is an IMPROVEMENT ?

    What IMPROVEMENT has closing the underpass and exits to Lansdowne and Sydenham Roads for re-surfacing achieved ?
    All this area will have to be dug up again for Westfield proposed entry/exit, underpass re-profiling, various new and amended traffic lights and sequences, pedestrian crossings, closing the subways, and the proposed tram loop, so isn’t this a waste of money ?

    It was only in 2013 that Lansdowne and Dingwall Roads and the roundabout between had major new pavements, road re-surfacing (twice) and roundabout alterations completed – all to be dug up again for the new tram stop, removal of bus stop, road alterations for tram track and turning with CPOs for the land to be required, including part of the pedestrian crossing to the main entrance of East Croydon station.
    Would bus and vehicle drivers and their passengers consider all this and the results of so many other Road Works to be IMPROVEMENTS too ?

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