Councillor Mark Watson’s whimsy of closing a stretch of the High Street in the town centre has encountered an unforeseen complication since the weekend, as Thames Water has dug up the road on Katharine Street, close to the Town Hall, for a burst water main.
It has caused additional disruption to traffic in the town centre, especially to buses, with Transport for London having to divert 11 bus routes and temporarily shut down a couple of stops. Poorly sign-posted, the changes have caused understandable confusion for bus passengers, many of whom have been seen queuing, pointlessly, at a stop which is now closed.
Thames Water’s work, meanwhile, proceeds at a glacial pace, apparently representing the utility company’s preferred state of water. The closure could last until January 10, according to Croydon Council.
Ordinarily, buses would travel down Park Street. With the road dug up by the Town Hall, now most of the affected routes – which include the 60, 405, 407, 412, 466, 455 and 50 – seem to be diverted down the side of the Flyover, with a temporary stop outside Christopher Wren House.
TfL’s re-routing options in the Town Centre will have been easier had the random closure of the High Street between Park Street and Katharine Street not been imposed by the council, at the behest of soon-to-be-ex councillor Watson, at short-notice a couple of months ago.
But as one commuter, whose journey to work has been affected, said today, “What does it matter, at least we’ve got a nice new seat in a random place.”
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Of all Watson’s vainglorious cock-ups, this one is certainly the most magnificent.
It has totally messed up the part of town around the Clocktower, constipated all traffic, given us an eyesore of useless and unlikely to be used fag end of pedestrianisation, caused untold inconvenience and difficulty for drivers and pedestrians alike and serves no purpose that is discernable to we ordinary people not possessed by an inordinate and uncontrolled desire to waste taxpayers money without restraint.
Had it been in any way co-ordinated with plans to develop St Georges Walk it may have made some sense. As it is, a stand-alone fantasy, it is truly a White Elephant and, as such, a fitting memorial to Watson’s totally unproductive time in office.