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Anger Continues Over Planned Burpham Roadworks But Director Responsible Will Not Be Facing Local Residents

Published on: 9 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 9 Dec, 2022

SCC artist impression of how the completed scheme will look.

By Martin Giles

Anger with the Surrey County Council decision to proceed with controversial roadworks on the A3100, London Road at Burpham in the New Year, continues as local councillors claim they have been excluded from decision-making and that it seems “no further changes will be considered”.

A statement from a SCC spokesman echoes that from Cllr Matt Furniss, given on December 1, and shows that although the period of the works has been decreased by two months it is intended the work to make the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians will proceed despite the outcry.

See also: Timespan of Criticised County Council Cycle Lane Scheme Reduced

He said: “We’re very aware however that creating this new infrastructure will cause disruption for people travelling in the area and will do all we can to minimise this. We have listened to the local community and have worked with our contractor to accelerate the works to reduce disruption. The scheme is now expected to be completed in less than five months instead of the initial seven-month schedule due to increasing the number of teams working on the scheme.”

The map of the works provided by SCC

Fiona Davidson (R4GV, Guildford South EastI told The Dragon: “The decision-makers at Surrey County Council have declined to engage, with both myself and Cllr George Potter [Lib Dem, Guildford East].

Cllr Fiona Davidson

“We have been told that we can have weekly briefing sessions with the project manager. It is clear that the project manager can feed back our concerns… but he is not empowered to make decisions.

“Following the initial concession of reducing the duration of the works and leafletting the houses in all the roads leading onto London Road, we have effectively been told that no further changes will be considered, to either what is planned or how it is implemented.

“I say we have effectively been told because no one will actually say this – the responses we receive are simply iterations of bland explanations which avoid the questions asked.”

A “drop-in meeting is scheduled to be held in Burpham church on December 17 but the project manager was unable to tell Cllr Davidson if the decision-makers would be present.

Cllr Davidson has advised residents to ask that they do attend and that the event includes a question and answer session to allow residents to raise their concerns directly. She also suggests that they write to Surrey County Council “to demonstrate the scale and strength of feeling in Guildford”.

See: Residents and Councillors Want to Engage on London Road Project – Does SCC?

But The Dragon understands that the senior SCC officer responsible, Katie Stewart, executive director Environment, Transport and Infrastructure, will not attend the event because of a prior personal commitment.

In a letter to Ms  Stewart, seen by The Dragon NEWS, Niels Laub of the Burpham Community Association said that it is believed the arrangement for the works were unsafe and would lead to major traffic congestion.

He wrote: “…the roundabout at the bottom of New Inn Lane is likely to be gridlocked for most of the day with large numbers of diverted vehicles needing to turn right from New Inn Lane crossing the path of all the usual southbound traffic plus additional traffic from Jacob’s Well.

“In addition, the Stoke Interchange, and all the roads leading to it, are likely to be gridlocked as commuter traffic seeks an alternative route to the A3.  We are therefore asking you to bring an immediate halt to these proposals until the implications of these proposals can be more fully assessed.”

It is understood that schools in the area only just becoming aware of the planned roadworks  and are also beginning to express concern.

Surrey County Council staff will be available at the drop-in session on Saturday 17 December 2022 Burpham Church in New Inn Lane between 9.30am and 2.00pm for people to raise any questions and to see the plans. Regular updates and a timeline of works will also be available on a dedicated webpage throughout – https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/activetravelburpham.

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test 7 Responses to Anger Continues Over Planned Burpham Roadworks But Director Responsible Will Not Be Facing Local Residents

  1. Susan Hibbert Reply

    December 10, 2022 at 7:53 am

    I find it extraordinary that SCC claims to have carried out a consultation on this scheme and yet no one in any of the residents associations or community forums bordering London Road knew anything about it until a few weeks ago when news leaked out about the road closure.

    One can only assume that SCC did not trust local residents to respond sensibly and therefore simply chose to exclude them from any consultation.

    I would have thought that liaising with residents’ associations and community forums (as well as Guildford-wide groups like the Guildford Society and the umbrella Guildford Residents Association) would be the easiest and most natural way for councils and other statutory bodies to consult with local residents, and to benefit from their expertise.

    We are not Nimbys, we want the best for our areas and we have a wealth of local knowledge and professional & practical expertise which we’d be happy to share with decision-making bodies.

    If we had been consulted, we had ideas about how to make this part of London Road safer for pedestrians & cyclists which would have been much cheaper and caused much less disruption than this present debacle.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 10, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    From Highway Authorities & Utilities Committee UK website:

    “A risk assessment must be carried out on any diversion route to ensure it is suitable and safe for the diverted traffic or pedestrians.”

    Has SCC carried out such an assessment? I assume the emergency services including the police have been consulted. What are their views about the closure and diversionary routes they have to take?

    An ambulance, for example, would have to drive an extra four miles to reach an incident. That could be an extra 10 minutes. Is this acceptable?

    The website states: “In some circumstances a full road closure may be avoided by the introduction of one-way traffic to reduce disruption and enable traffic flows to be maintained. This option can only be considered if there is a suitable diversion route for the affected traffic. A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order or Notice will be required.” But there is no suitable diversion.

    Is there a judiciary path the residents can take to challenge SCC for neglecting safety of residents and road users affected by this Temporary Traffic Order?

  3. David Harris Reply

    December 10, 2022 at 5:13 pm

    Cllr Matt Furniss’s track record on numerous projects speaks for itself. What is it with SCC and their dictatorial workings after sham “consultations” that seem designed to upset and inconvenience almost everyone except themselves? It’s absolutely extraordinary that those responsible for yet another incompetent farce scurry away to hide from the public they blight.

    • Colin Hayward Reply

      December 12, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      I concur with David Harris’ opinion. The implementation of this whole scheme is a disaster waiting to happen and the person in the thick of it seems to be hiding under his desk.

  4. Richard Clarke Reply

    December 12, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    It would be helpful to know in advance, who is attending this meeting from Surrey County Council. It seems that the decision-makers are not going to be there (unsurprisingly!), but who will be, and in what capacity will they be representing our county council?

    Clearly, this meeting should have been held long before this badly-considered project was approved by the council. It appears that they have now lost the ability to act in the best interests of the people they are supposed to represent. Is it any wonder that normal, sensible people get so angry by their ill-conceived ‘improvements’?

    Let’s hope that the lead councillors involved have a change of mind, and make the effort to attend the meeting on Saturday. They will find it “informative” at the very least!

    • Jim Allen Reply

      December 12, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      I’m taking bets as to the meeting being cancelled because:

      1. staff holidays (4-1)

      2. stuck in traffic (2-1)

      3. bike has a puncture (50-1)

      4. could not face the public (evens favourite)

      5. contract signed off already so no point in the meeting going ahead (3-1)

  5. Anthony Mallard Reply

    December 13, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    I believe Jim Allen is correct in number 5 of his betting odds. Roadside notices have already been erected advising of the northbound closure of London Road between January and May 2023. The proposed consultation meeting is, as predicted, a sham. Democracy pah!

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