By Ella Hopkins
The weight of traffic of thousands of HGV lorries trucking in rubbish to be burned at the Beddington Lane incinerator has seen the vital route closed for “safety-critical” emergency works.
The closure could last up to six months and will see traffic diverted down Hilliers Lane, Croydon Road, Purley Way and Ampere Way.
Gas company SGN yesterday began the works to replace leaking gas pipes, which were in danger of being crushed as Beddington Lane crumbles under the pressure of heavy daily traffic.
It is the second time in less than three years that Beddington Lane has had to be closed off to traffic entirely for a period of three months or more.
One local councillor maintains that Beddington Lane requires £13million-worth of improvements to withstand the traffic demands created by the incinerator and other industrial plants in the area – a bill which neither Sutton Council nor Transport for London have so far been willing to pay.
The works, in four phases, could last until March 29 at the earliest; a press release from Sutton suggests the works will take until the end of June.
“All the buried services are getting smashed up because of the weight of HGV traffic,” Nick Mattey, the independent councillor for Beddington North, said.
“The full impact of the scheme will only be seen in the next few weeks. Lorries are being stacked pointing south on the east side of Beddington Lane. HGV traffic has significantly increased on the A237 going through Hackbridge to the incinerator.
“The cost of the upgrade to make the road fit for purpose is £13million,” Mattey said.
In the first phase of works, Beddington Lane will be closed on the junction between Elberon Avenue and Jessops Way for six weeks. Two bus stops between Elberon Avenue and the roundabout with Coomber Way will be suspended over this period. In gas works areas, the speed limit will be reduced to 20mph.
The works will be carried out in four phases by SGN contractor Forefront Utilities. They will replace the old metal gas mains with plastic pipes.
“We need to carry out safety-critical work to upgrade the gas network in Beddington Lane,” said SGN spokesperson Ben Bradley.
“This needs to go ahead now, rather than wait until the pandemic passes, to ensure the local community continues to receive a safe and reliable gas supply.
“We understand that people can get frustrated by roadworks. However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years and will be able to withstand local traffic travelling overhead.”
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Crumbling roads? Surely not, in the fifth-richest country in the world!
Just a shame that every one of the four boroughs in the South London Waste Partnership was not forced to have their own state of the art recycling centre, complete with a local railhead to shift the residual waste off by rail to a power station away from major settlements.
Then the poor folk of Beddington would not be suffering all this lorry traffic which itself adds yet more pollution to the area, blighted already by the incinerator air pollution and the sewage works stink.
And whatever happened to the Wandle Valley park project? Some 30 years ago, I was looking forward to seeing by now a much greener Beddington, full of wldflower meadows and abundant bird life. Trout in a crystalline Wandle, and more. Maybe even wild horses, a la Camargue!
Someone needs to put a dome over the sewage works to keep the stink in, and plant woodlands on its lands fronting Beddington lane, to make it look much better, and cleanse at least some of the air. And, in 20 years or much sooner, Government needs to ban incineration in cities.
I really think that the Boundary Commission should relocate the Sutton-Croydon boundary, bringing all of Beddington that lies to the East of the Sutton to Mitcham railway into Croydon. Then, Croydon could exercise planning control on the incinerator, sewage works and industry.
Well, I suppose this was entirely predictable. The state of the carriageway on most of Beddington Lane and associated feeder roads has been dire for years, and the additional loading on the gas main from an increasing number of fully laden HGVs serving the incinerator was entirely foreseeable. Quite why significant improvement to the highway infrastructure and associated utilities serving these developments wasn’t included as part of the original planning approval by way of S278 & S106 agreements is a mystery.
Had a little more thought been given to this at the time, the surrounding streetscape could have been improved before construction of the incinerator was allowed to start, reducing impacts during the build phase, and avoiding the subsequent lengthy disruptions that have ensued since, and will now continue.
You live and learn. Or maybe you don’t.