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Timespan of Criticised County Council Cycle Lane Scheme Reduced

Published on: 1 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 3 Dec, 2022

By Martin Giles

A plan for improved footways and cycle lanes in both directions between Boxgrove Roundabout and the New Inn Lane roundabout on London Road (A3100), Burpham, next year is being heavily criticised by local residents and councillors because of the expected disruption it will cause.

SCC artist’s impression of how the completed scheme will look.

A spokesperson for the Burpham Community Association said: “How can anyone think it right to introduce a scheme which will have such a massive effect on the lives of many thousands of people without a genuine consultation?

“We request a postponement while proper consultation is carried out and a less disruptive solution is found.”

Works are now set to get under way on the Burpham “active travel” scheme for five months from January 9 to May 31 next year. The original completion date was August 22.

Surrey County Council says: “The scheme is one of 13 which has been awarded government funding to support ‘transformational, innovative projects which reallocate road space to active travel modes, making walking and cycling more accessible’.”

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Economy, said: “I’m delighted that work on this major active travel scheme is starting in the new year. This will make walking and cycling both easier and safer for visitors and residents to travel on this busy route.

“Surrey has the highest number of cyclist casualties and is the fifth highest for pedestrian casualties in Great Britain – we have a responsibility to help address this by making walking and cycling safer for our residents.

“We’re very aware however that creating this new infrastructure will create 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.

“With 41 per cent of Surrey’s carbon emissions coming from transport, we are committed to doing all we can to make Guildford and the whole of Surrey a cleaner, greener place to live and travel.”

Annotated Apple map. This map replaces an incorrect version published originally showing only northbound traffic will be allowed. We apologise for our error.

“The works will mean London Road, Guildford, from the Boxgrove Road Roundabout to the roundabout at New Inn Lane-London Road will be closed northbound only… [it will be] open to southbound traffic with access maintained for residents and businesses as well as emergency services through the southbound route.”

Originally, the work was to be carried out in two phases with the second phase, involving northbound only traffic on the stretch from Woodruff Avenue to New Inn Road, to be completed in August.

Cllr George Potter

Two local county councillors are unhappy with the way the scheme has been planned and communicated. Their comments were made before the new May completion date was announced.

George Potter (Lib Dem, Guildford East) said the goal of the scheme was laudable and something he had supported since 2020 when Surrey County Council successfully bid for government active travel funding.

He added: “However, the way in which it is being done will cause massive disruption across the entire east of Guildford. I was shocked to discover that the other county councillor for the area affected, Fiona Davidson, had not been consulted about it at all, and formal confirmation that the scheme would be starting on January 9 only came through at the end of last week.

“Six weeks’ public notice might work for minor roadworks, but the one-way closure of a major arterial route for eight months [as originally planned] requires far more advance warning. My understanding is that the justification for the one-way closure is to reduce the construction costs of the scheme. I will be pressing SCC to think again about alternative ways to deliver the scheme without causing complete chaos on the roads.”

Cllr Fiona Davidson

Cllr Fiona Davidson said: “Whilst I share the aim of making our roads safer for children, pedestrians and cyclists, reducing pollution and our carbon footprint I am very concerned at how the implementation is being communicated and managed.

“There is a risk of gridlock across a wide area of Guildford, misery for many, and further detriment to Guildford’s economy. There are no less than nine schools in the immediately impacted area – five are independent/faith schools with wide catchment areas.

“I urge Surrey County Council to come up with a more acceptable implementation plan – and to properly consult and communicate. Consultation so far has been cursory, and does not instill confidence in residents that SCC values engagement with residents, or is resident-centric.”

Responding Cllr Furniss said: “We’re aware that creating this new infrastructure will cause disruption for people travelling in the area and will do all we can to minimise this. Consultation indicated 58 per cent support for the scheme but we are aware that residents rightly will want the work completed in the shortest time period manageable.

“We have listened to concerns and worked with our contractor to accelerate the works, which are now expected to be completed in less than five months due to increasing the number of teams working on the scheme.

“The scheme is complex involving fast-moving decisions about scheme design, budget and traffic management consideration, but we will ensure going forward our normal briefings with affected county councillors are carried out as appropriate.”

In a letter to SCC, the Burpham Community Association has posed a series of questions about the scheme as well as registering its serious concerns about the impact of the planned project, as first announced. The letter concludes: “…it seems to us that the project offers very small benefits at the cost of serious disruption to life and business.”

Find out more – Community drop-in session

SCC announced a drop-in session will be held on Saturday, December 17, at Burpham Church in New Inn Lane between 9.30am and 2.00pm for people to find out more, see the plans and raise any questions. Regular updates and a timeline of works will be available on a dedicated webpage throughout – https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/activetravelburpham

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test 10 Responses to Timespan of Criticised County Council Cycle Lane Scheme Reduced

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    December 1, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    Very magnanimous of SCC to arrange a drop-in on December 17. It is just lip service to the local residents and road users. You will be able to raise all the questions you want but factor in the Christmas shutdown and it is a done deal.

    Nothing can or will be changed before the start date.

    • John Le Cheminant Reply

      December 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

      I totally agree with Paul Robinson.

      I live in Burpham and the first I got to know about this was a leaflet yesterday, Decmber 9, although I had noticed some yellow roadside warnings that did not make sense to me.

      I believe this is a case where local residents can take up the seemingly new fashion of peaceful disruption, as per the extinction rebellion lot – on the basis if you can’t beat them then join them. Let’s bring back some resistance to wasting taxpayers’ money in a time of financial difficulties when such monies could help the elderly and more deprived.

  2. Wayne Smith Reply

    December 1, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Five months of gridlock and misery in Merrow and Burpham instead of seven! Are we expected to now rejoice?

    God help anybody needing emergency services. Will SCC be compensating the already struggling shops? I doubt it as they did next to nothing for the shops in Tunsgate.

  3. Jan Messinger Reply

    December 1, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Surrey has the highest number of cyclist casualties: it says it all.

    We all know how densely populated Surrey is. It is not surprising that with such a poor public transport system and the cost of using it some prefer to go by bike.

    However, money spent on cycle lanes could have provided better public transport services for all with more frequent service of minibuses from rural areas to the towns in Surrey for example. Then people would use them.

    This work in Burpham is going to cause chaos. I wonder who will actually use the cycle lanes? A long time ago I realised how dangerous to cycle or walk on local roads was. I’m sure residents will be even angrier after months of disruption to life and business if no one uses them or someone is killed.

    There are too many things happening which are making Guildford a less attractive place to live.

  4. Lynne Riley Reply

    December 3, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    Totally agree with two comments already posted. It will be maximum disruption for minimum benefit.

    There are two main roads from Merrow/Burpham side of Guildford. If you effectively close one, the effects will be horrendous.

  5. Alan Cooper Reply

    December 7, 2022 at 12:28 am

    Our MP has been very quiet on the matter, not that she has done much for Guildford, as far as I know.

    This is a complete waste of £1.5 million (minimum spend) added to the wasted £800,000 for the Parkway Bus Lane and widening of an already wide footpath for cyclists on Parkway. Surrey County Council seems to enjoy mismanaging government funds.

    No one it appears has thought of the total chaos this will create and the extra mileage that will need to be travelled, in turn, causing more emissions. Local residents will have to endure lengthy diversions, travelling south, just to get home. What route, for example, will emergency vehicles take to get to anywhere near Aldi or New Inn Lane?

    This scheme must surely have been devised by a non-driver on work experience at SCC. The entire plan has been ill-thought-out.

  6. Martin Elliott Reply

    December 7, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    What percentage of traffic (all types) using London Road are residents of the area?

    As with Walnut Tree Close close, why does SCC not consider the overall effect of these plans for all users?

    I remember it being said that the modifications to add discretionary cycle tracks, traffic islands would not reduce the flow rate. I’ve not been able to find the project SCC’s webs site. Do the lane widths remain as before?

    Editor’s comment: this is a link to SCC’s webpage on the project, https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roadworks-and-maintenance/roadworks/burpham-active-travel.

  7. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 7, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Driving northwards yesterday, I was unable to take Boxgrove Road as there was a police incident right by the roundabout. I was obliged to take the London Road towards Burpham.The traffic in all directions was heavy at 5pm. Where would all the cars and lorries have gone if London Road had been closed? I was also aware that there is a cycle track on both sides of the road so why are there any plans to alter the road layout? It seemed perfectly fine to me.

  8. Susan Hibbert Reply

    December 7, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    I agree with all the comments posted above and with what Cllrs George Potter and Fiona Davidson say.

    Although the aims of this traffic scheme are laudable, it is doubtful whether the proposed work will result in the achievement of those aims of safer walking and cycling; certainly the supposed “consultation” was not at all thorough and was probably one of those exercises where the questions are designed to produce the required answers. I doubt very much that the level of traffic chaos this scheme will cause was made clear in the so-called consultation.

    The exclusion of our local councillors from any involvement was and is shameful. In fact, this has to be one of the most undemocratic exercises I’ve ever come across.

  9. Paul Chrome Reply

    December 14, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I am very happy this work is happening. The road is deadly for cyclists. My son was almost killed on that road. Anything that saves injury and death is worth a short detour. Objectors should get a grip.

    Editor’s note: this comment was received before SCC’s announcement of a further engagement period.

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