Fringe Box



Letter: Impression Has Been Reinforced That London Road Scheme Will Be a Fait Accompli

Published on: 1 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 1 Sep, 2023

From: Terence Newman

chair of the London Road Action Group

See: New Plan for London Road Scheme ‘Engagement’ Receives Mixed Response

Further to your article about the adequacy of the new Surrey County Council “engagement” on the London Road Cycle Scheme, I can now offer an update on behalf of London Road Action Group.

I had earlier expressed disquiet, along with other stakeholders, about not being permitted to share details of the design, traffic management and a series of probable questions and answers, with other members of my committee. This was felt as essential to ensure that a balanced, non-solitary opinion could be offered as part of the stakeholder co-production of the engagement process.

The reason given by SCC for not being permitted to share “privileged information” was: “The risk with this wider sharing outside the group membership is that others who were not party to early sight of the material could at some point in the engagement process raise an objection and the whole process would be null and void.”

This concern about the potential for invalidating the engagement process has resulted in the chair of the stakeholder reference group, in order to enable unfettered distribution, deciding to postpone revelation of any documents for a week, and postpone the scheduled concluding meeting of the stakeholder group also by a week. This then leaves just five days after this meeting before the date of the launch of the public engagement.

It would appear extremely improbable that significant amendment to the publications would be possible in these ensuing five days. So, the impression is reinforced that what would be offered to the public, as hinted earlier, is a fait accompli.

Any suggestion that every stakeholder has participated as a co-producer, in what appears in the public domain, has to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. LRAG does not believe that it has had sufficient opportunity to contemplate and comment. Surrey County Council and their advisers, the Consultation Institute, must be considered as the prime constructors of the engagement in their own image.

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Responses to Letter: Impression Has Been Reinforced That London Road Scheme Will Be a Fait Accompli

  1. John Lomas Reply

    September 1, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    I spent 44 years dealing with the DVSA [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency] and it’s various driving test provider predecessors. Over that time they produced a number of consultation papers. It was noticeable that they always included one or two suggestions that were so outlandish that they were always protested and also removed “as a result of the objections”. It happened with such regularity that it became an obvious ploy that allowed them to say “We do listen to and take notice of, consultations”.

    I suspect that there is an official policy among the civil servants in local and national administrations to do this in order that they can claim “we are listening” while actually ignoring the populace, as far as possible.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    September 2, 2023 at 9:45 am

    My suggestion would be to keep the cycle lanes as they are or improve them where physically possible but keep the broken white lines and introduce 20mph speed limit during peak times.

    SCC Highways should consider the implications of their design and amend their design to facilitate safe cycling and yet not create a situation that has the potential to force drivers to break the law or cause more accidents.

    London Road with its cycle lanes over the stretches where double white lines exist is already a cause for concern. It is not possible for vehicles wider than 2.0m to pass a cyclist and give 1.5 metres clearance [at 30mph] because the lane width is about 3.0 metres. So such vehicles should stay behind cyclists until there is scope to pass them with 1.5 metres clearance, as now advised in the Highway Code.

    From what I have gathered so far, the new design has 3.0m wide lanes and if the cycle lanes are now made dedicated ones with solid white lines, vehicles will have no chance to pass where there are double white centre lines. Where they could cross the normal centre line to pass safely, opposing traffic may not be able always move over sufficiently, as they cannot cross into the cycle lane because of the solid white line.

    Proposed alterations might create unsatisfactory situation for the traffic and would cause further congestion during peak times and potentially cause more accidents.

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