Not everything’s going to plan after High Street roadworks

Re-route map: the council’s plans for two-way Fell Road fail to state that it won’t come into force for another two weeks

Our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE, finds the council facing another possible U-turn on one of its street schemes

There’s a degree of chaos and confusion in the streets around the Town Hall, even more so than usual, after more than a month’s-worth of road works to unblock some of the closures and bus re-routings in Croydon town centre.

No entry: Fell Road remains one-way working until March 9

Residents on one side street relate that the new lay-out means that their road is proving more difficult to access from the High Street, forcing motorists and delivery drivers to take a longer-than-necessary detour.

And there have already been arguments between motorists and bus drivers on Fell Road, within earshot of council officials working in Fisher’s Folly, because of a two-week hiatus before one essential part of the new road scheme is implemented.

Businesses on the stretch of Croydon High Street from Katharine Street to George Street had complained that the traffic restrictions applied during the covid lockdown in 2020 had adversely impacted footfall and their trade, while bus passengers often wondered out loud whether the detour taken around the roundabouts on Park Lane was becoming one of the biggest single contributors to global warming…

Some restrictions and pedestrianisation of the High Street were first introduced in 2018, and proved to be hugely costly and not much loved.

A “parklet” art installation seat positioned around an emtombed young tree was quickly declared by the council to be too dangerous to sit on. The sapling was soon after broken by vandals and died.

And expensively-commissioned abstract “ground art” outside St George’s Walk lasted barely six months before it was scarred by tarmac after workers from one utility firm or another dug up the road to perform some important repairs, a possibility which had never been considered by those in power at the Town Hall.

Backward step: a British Gas van seen reversing the wrong way down one-way Scarbrook Road

Much of this, including bike gates at either end of this stretch of High Street, has now been swept away, largely unmissed and unlamented.

The latest reconfiguring of the town centre’s road restrictions was described as “improvements” by Croydon Council, which said, “We are making changes to the road layouts to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, reduce bus journey times and improve access for local businesses and residents.”

The works were due to have been completed by February 17. But the making of Fell Road, two-way from Mint Walk to the Flyover, “giving access to drivers to turn left into the road from the Flyover”, as the council stated, won’t come in to force for another two weeks yet, on March 9.

This essential detail is missing from the council’s overview of the planned works. It is noted on a council website page, which says that “to improve traffic flows and access to businesses, we are going to trial two-way traffic for part of Fell Road” by implementing an ETMO, or Experimental Traffic Management Order.

A source at Fisher’s Folly has suggested that the delayed implementation of the two-way Fell Road may be because the application for the ETMO was not made soon enough.

No left turn: Fell Road remains, for now at least, inaccessible for traffic from the Flyover access road

Photographs taken today show that no left turn signs and no entry signs remain in place on Fell Road. On the council’s plans for all the road works, they show it to be a two-way street, with no mention of any implementation date.

Elsewhere in the town centre, one loyal reader has today observed a British Gas van reversing up Scarbrook Road in an effort to circumvent the newly introduced one-way system, and a Range Rover turning out on to the High Street after driving the wrong way up the length of the same one-way street.

Less than a week since the council completed its road works in the town centre, the resident describes the end result as “Truly bonkers!”

They told Inside Croydon: “Without access via Fell Road into Katharine Street as suggested by the council’s map, vehicles are now forced to go via Park Lane and navigate this often very busy junction, just to turn into Katharine Street, and eventually turn right into the top of Scarbrook Road from the High Street.

“I’m pretty sure someone is going to get hurt by this unnecessarily more dangerous journey just to get from the High Street into Scarbrook Road.”

The situation with Scarbrook Road, where the Croydon municipal baths once stood until demolished to make way for a car park, has become what one resident describes as a “colossal clusterfuck”.

Snapped in the act: this Range Rover turns on to the High Street after driving the wrong way up one-way Scarbrook Road

With vehicles often parked on either side of the street, Scarbrook Road is narrow, with little room to manoeuvre. It has a junction with Surrey Street and the High Street. Vehicles are now supposed to be able to turn from the High Street into Scarbrook Road, heading downhill towards Charles Street and the new Flyover Towers.

“While the High Street was closed, Scarbrook Road was supposed to be temporary two-way working, but drivers that attempted to access into Scarbrook Road from Wandle Road, including market traders, were stopped on several occasions by the police.

“Now that the High Street has reopened, drivers continue to drive the wrong way up Scarbrook Road from Wandle Road, probably because they’re so confused about how else they can get to where they need to be.

It’s not clear whether the council ever informed the police about temporary two-way working on Scarbrook Road. According to our reader, “Now that the work appears to be complete on the High Street, there’s inadequate new signage to direct drivers on to the new routes.

“Even residents that live in Scarbrook Road are unsure of what route they should now take, which shows how much of a balls-up this has turned into.

“In short, it’s currently a freaking nightmare and everyone is confused as to what the hell is going on!”

About insidecroydon

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
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10 Responses to Not everything’s going to plan after High Street roadworks

  1. Jim Bush says:

    This is not exactly unexpected, in ‘Can’t Do Croydon’, where the council doesn’t know its arse from its elbow.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      I am sure they do know their arse from their elbow. I would imagine that if they could remove the hand attached to said elbow from that rear orifice they could point it to with the elbow where the attached other fist that is inserted into the mouth preventing intelligent meaningful communication.

  2. Perhaps it’s all got to do with the ‘Borough of Culture,’ inspired by the Dutch artist Escher – you know, all those those pathways leading nowhere? Equally perhaps the road planners are offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs to reduce staffing costs giving the state the finances are in?

  3. Pete Jenkins says:

    Fell Road: Parking, plus buses travelling in both directions. That could be more fun.
    Absolutely ridiculous revamp of all the roads in that area.

  4. Ian Kierans says:

    One suspects that not one so called improvement has been tested against actual users behaviours. They take a severely blinkered and arrogant approach to road design and signage.

    They give a public perception that they are intentionally makng road usage difficult for everyone and have not a care of the damage this does to residents businesses and visitors.

    Many feel that they are in effect entrapping motorists and hoping to swell their grossly stupid fines budget.

    Even their attempts at Consultation have a serious credibility issue after failures to consult or take into account comments unless they fitted their preconceived plans.

    That is not just Traffic but the planning department also.

    One wonders exactly what the priorities actually are as very little they do is fit for purpose in the short term medium term and clearly never going to even get close to long term before it falls to bits or is let to go to rack and ruin.

  5. Jan Taylor says:

    Croydon Highways are particularly fucking useless. Along with Heather Cheesbrough they have signed off a car park for a new 9 flat block which is so steep cars cannot physically get into it. Instead they park on the road outside.

    If you want to see the cretinous behaviour of Croydon Highways go and look at the car park at 78 Higher Drive – an essay in ineptitude.

  6. What else would you expect from a dysfunctional council run by Mayor Jason “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” Perry?

  7. Lee Malyon says:

    Maybe someone should ask Steve Iles, he is Director of Highways, so responsible for this calamity!

    Last year he wrongly assumed that he would make millions upon millions in revenue from Croydon motorists by putting sneaky little enforcement cameras all over the borough, then looked like a complete numpty recently in front of the scrutiny panel when he had to try and explain why it didn’t come to fruition!

  8. Maverick says:

    Unfortunately Mr Iles is made of Teflon , he can never do anything wrong…as he’s a yes man !

  9. Lewis White says:

    I’m all in favour of encouraging cycling, but why is it necessary to mark out a two -way cycle lane in an area of the High Street where the only other traffic is buses and exempted vehicles? Can’t bikes and buses share the space safely?

    The cycle lane has not been laid out as shown on the consultation drawing shown in the Inside Croydon article. A ridiculously large kink or “build-out” sticks out into the High Street outside the former Millets store, which was not shown. Buses were being blocked at this location by delivery vehicles parked slightly out of the loading bay zone on the opposite side.

    If cycles shared the street with buses, we could have 2 -way bus lanes, so that bus stops could be reinstated on both sides of the road. Even if staggered, so that the North bound stops and South bound stops could all be located North of the Flyover. The new arrangement has dropped the stop outside the Polish supermarket, which is a shame. Shoppers need to be brought right in to the shopping areas.

    I used the South-bound bus stops this afternoon, coming back from Croydon to Coulsdon. It is very good that the South-bound stops have been brought back to a sensible, convenient place, from the remote location a long way South of the Flyover, near Leon House, where they have been for a very long time. They are now back North of the Flyover, in the section of High Street between Mint Walk and Robert Road. There were many people waiting, at the two stops.

    The silly thing is that there is one tiny bus shelter, suitable for a quiet suburban location, not the two long shelters needed, nor any litter bins. Why not ??

    Doh ! I had forgotten about the long-running (or should it be “non-running” ) saga of interractive-state-of-the-art bus stops equipped with sensors that tell you how much of the toxic Beddington Incinerator polluted air one is breathing, and electronic, power-hungry adverts, and maybe body scanners to remind one yet again of the need to lose weight……..

    Of course, why should I expect these new town centre bus stops have actual shelters? I ask you, how daft !

    And bins ! Surely I should know by now that bins have been taken away from Croydon bus stops and streets by the score, or maybe hundred?

    I hope that the Council are willing to review the dedicated cycle ways, and re-jig the stops to allow the High Street to be reopened to N and S bound buses as far as Katharine Street., and maybe have N bound buses going up Park Street.

    Do we really need another pedestrianised bit of High Street between Katharine and park Streets? How much space do people really need to walk and wheel wheelchairs and push-chairs? The footways are wide here already.

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