Fringe Box



Letter: Cost of the Active Travel Scheme Planned for London Road

Published on: 31 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 31 Dec, 2023

From: Niels Laub

Surrey County Council has consistently refused to release cost estimates for the three phases for the Active Travel Scheme from Aldi in Burpham to York Road despite numerous FOI requests.

The only cost estimate they have ever provided was £4.2 million for the whole scheme which was offered verbally at the public meeting on January 5, which I believe to be hopelessly inadequate.

For example, in their “Tranche 3 Bid” for the Boxgrove roundabout, Surrey County Council estimated the cost of alterations to the Boxgrove roundabout as £458,750. The Dutch Style roundabout at Fendon Road in Cambridge cost £2.3 million – five times the SCC estimate.

Moreover, according to a news item published on December 17, Cambridgeshire is now planning to spend a further £890,000 to improve safety at the Fendon Road roundabout (the only other Dutch-style roundabout in the UK) following the death of a cyclist in October 2021.

Surrey County Council believes that the Active Travel Scheme will make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. But according to the BBC News (April  26), there have been 10 collisions at the Fendon Road roundabout in the three years since it opened, three of them serious, compared to only six minor accidents in the three previous years from 2017-19.

According to a BBC news item on December 18, in order to balance the budget for 2024-25, Surrey County Council still need to find £13.5 million in savings, is still looking to increase council tax, and is unable to support borough councils like Woking and Guildford who are struggling financially.

According to an article in the Times on Thursday (28th December), Lord Morse, chairman of the Office for Local Government, is of the opinion that local authorities are going bankrupt, not through lack of funding from central government, but through financial mismanagement.

According to Surrey County Council’s own estimates, they believe the Active Travel Scheme is likely to generate an additional 148 cycle journeys per day. If Surrey County Council estimates the total cost of the scheme to be just £4.2 million, that equates to circa £28,000 per additional daily cycle journey. Do others believe this to be an effective use of taxpayers money?

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Cost of the Active Travel Scheme Planned for London Road

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 31, 2023 at 6:57 pm

    I don’t think it has anything to do with cost it is about councillors and officers believing that advancement of such a project, no matter success or failure, is the goal.

    It is not what the users of London Road need want or have requested. Only thy will suffer the consequences of 18months of road works, the resulting congestion as road capacity is reduced from 1,200 vehicles per hour to just 800.

    Officers and councillors might not be affected but regular have no choice.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    January 1, 2024 at 10:29 am

    The simple answer to the question posed in Niels’ letter is simply, no!

    Whilst government funding may be available for part of this flawed and, in parts, dangerous scheme, it clearly won’t cover the final cost.

    Where will the balance be found? Further cuts to the services for poorest and most vulnerable people, children’s services or where?

    Perhaps SCC could, as a New Year’s resolution, be open and transparent on this significantly important matter and tell the taxpayers, please.

  3. Frank Emery Reply

    January 1, 2024 at 3:31 pm

    According to an article in The Times on Thursday (December 28), Lord Morse, chairman of the Office for Local Government, is of the opinion that local authorities are going bankrupt, not through lack of funding from central government, but through financial mismanagement.

    This letter says it all. The cost to the residents of Guildford for one cycle journey is certainly astonishing and beyond belief!

    Making it easier to cycle won’t make more people take up cycling when their only means of transport is the car.

    Has any councillors tried carrying five Sainsbury’s bags on a bike in the pouring rain?

    • S Callanan Reply

      January 2, 2024 at 12:30 pm

      Mr Emery surely doesn’t think that real world issues such as shopping and heavy rain make any difference to those anxious to show they’re made of the right stuff in their use of government funded Active Travel money, does he?

      I worry that Active Travel will turn out to be smoke and mirrors, though I’d like to see a reduction in pollution and a healthier population as much as the next man.

      Remember when everything had to be “robust”? Now everything has to be “sustainable”. But what does either term actually mean to the man on the top of the Guildford omnibus sitting in a traffic jam on Bridge Street?

      How many people have to travel by bike rather than car to make a jot of difference to that jam? Surely someone’s crunched the numbers and can let us know?

  4. Ben Paton Reply

    January 2, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    The scheme is a vanity project. It is narcissism to expect that this ‘active travel scheme’ will make any more difference than moving the deck chairs on the Titanic would have. The scheme is like trying to increase the square meterage of a building by changing the wall paper.

    For one thing, the entire economy has been re-structured around motor transport for over a hundred years. What is needed is an increase in road capacity to accommodate more cyclists – ideally on their own dedicated and exclusive routes.

    What is proposed will marginally increase capacity for cycle users and decrease it substantially for the far larger numbers of people and resources travelling by car and truck. That does not follow democratic or economic logic.

    For another thing, China has installed coal fired electricity power stations with the capacity of the entire UK electricity generation system annually for decades. That fact, and many others, demonstrates that the destiny of climate change is in the hands of Chinese and US government policy – not in the hands of Surrey County Council.

    The Surrey councillor in charge of Transport is Cllr Matt Furniss [Con, Shalford], who, together with former borough councillor Paul Spooner, were chief architects of the disastrous 2019 Guildford Local Plan. Enough said.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *