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Letter: Alternative Survey Shows 87 per cent Opposed to London Road Scheme

Published on: 17 Feb, 2024
Updated on: 17 Feb, 2024

Image of London Road taken in August 2022. Google Street View.

From: Niels Laub

One of the group which organised the ‘Alternative’ London Road Survey

See also: Dragon Interview – Authors of the ‘Alternative’ London Road Survey

Surrey County Council is due to reach a decision on the Active Travel Scheme planned for the London Road at their Cabinet Meeting on February 27.

Because Surrey County Council will rely on the result of its own online survey to justify going ahead with the Active Travel Scheme should it decide to do so, we believe it is important to raise some concerns about its authorship, bias and interpretation.

It should be made clear that the STRG (Stakeholder Reference Group), a group of local stakeholders who were recruited by Surrey County Council to ensure that the engagement process was fair, measured, and appropriate, were not given the opportunity to contribute to the questionnaire despite raising clear objections at the time.

When they raised objections that some of the questions were overtly biased, they were ignored.

For instance, it is impossible not to agree with a question like “how important to you is it that the updated proposal for the scheme contributes to increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists”.

The Traffic Modelling Report, which is highly relevant to these proposals, and which clearly admits that traffic congestion on the A3100 will be increased and that some traffic will inevitably be diverted onto nearby residential roads, was not published until October 14, four weeks into the consultation period, and therefore any questionnaires completed before it was published ought to be disregarded.

Nowhere in Surrey County Council’s questionnaire is there an opportunity to respond to the simple question asking whether respondents are in favour of the scheme or not.

The evaluation of this questionnaire will be highly subjective because it depends entirely on the rating given to each question and the value given to the response. Nor is there any guarantee that the comments section, where the public is given the only opportunity to express their concerns, will be considered, or if they are considered, what value or weight they will be given.

From our own evaluation of these comments, it would appear that 46 per cent are opposed to the scheme whereas only 23 per cent are in favour.

According to Surrey County Council, the evaluation of this survey will also include all the comments completed at the drop-in centres and various unspecified contributions and emails received by Surrey County Council over which the public have absolutely no method of confirmation or verification.

At the time the Surrey County Council’s online questionnaire finally closed on December 15, having been open for 13 weeks, their online survey had recorded a total of 762 responses.  Surrey County Council have yet to declare the results of their survey.

Because of the many concerns about the Surrey County Council Questionnaire, particularly the leading nature of the questions, a local group known as the London Road Active Travel Survey Group set up an alternative survey that went online on the November 7.

Crucially this survey did include the key question asking whether you were in favour of the scheme or not? This survey lasted for six weeks and closed on the December 15 to coincide with the end of the consultation period.

The “alternative” received a total of 1,241 responses over a short six-week period and 87 per cent of those responses were opposed to the scheme.

Because the survey required respondents to provide a postcode, we were able to tell that 96 per cent of the respondents were from Guildford postcodes and therefore most of the responses came from residents who will be directly affected by these proposals.

These results were presented to Tim Oliver, the leader of Surrey County Council, at a meeting on December 18 which Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford, attended.

The results of this alternative survey were also submitted to the council within the deadline set for submissions for the public consultation.

We believe that Surrey County Council should take the results of this alternative survey into consideration.

Editor’s comment: According to the latest London Road Action Group update reporting on the latest STRG meeting with SCC on Thursday (February 15): “the council officers dismissed consideration of inputs from the London Road Active Travel Survey on the grounds that the results were not verifiable. Councillor Oliver [SCC leader], however, did acknowledge that he had met the instigators and studied the results.”

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Responses to Letter: Alternative Survey Shows 87 per cent Opposed to London Road Scheme

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    February 17, 2024 at 5:36 pm

    If you think the London Road SCC survey was informative and well set up. Try looking at the new Compton speeding survey, it’s even less relevant or sensible.

    In fact it’s a joke!

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