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Letter: Is Legal Redress the Only Option to Change SCC’s Approach to London Road Project?

Published on: 11 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 11 Dec, 2022
From: A retired SCC Highway Engineer and Burpham Resident – name and address supplied
See also: Anger Continues Over Planned Burpham Roadworks But Director Responsible Will Not Be Facing Local Residents
Surrey County Council’s claim that there were “unprecedented levels of walking and cycling” during the pandemic may be correct. However, that does not necessarily translate into what people actually do now with separation not being a requirement.
It would seem, from the various sources I’ve seen, that the “consultation” about the scheme for “Active Travel”, including provision for cycles in 2021, appears to have been Surrey-wide. It was carried out by a research company who “selected residents representing all demographics and age groups” and/or including “an access panel of people who have volunteered to be contacted by research companies about a number of matters for their opinion”.
This was done so that there wouldn’t be “an unrepresented sample using the normal online method” (or people who might have different views?).

SCC didn’t make public the results “as we wanted to ensure that we were going ahead with the scheme”. In other words, when it would be a fait accompli and SCC had been seen to carry out a (bogus) consultation.

The official diversion route for northbound traffic is via Stoke crossroads, Slyfield and Clay Lane to Burpham. This is despite there being a 7.5-ton weight restriction on Clay Lane and the existing traffic congestion at Stoke crossroads and between Slyfield Industrial Estate and the Clay Lane junction on the A320.

There is also no mention of addressing the problem of vehicles that will cut the corner of that route by using Jacobs Well Road.

If drivers choose to divert up the A25 Boxgrove Road (which would be the obvious choice) and travel via Merrow to reach Burpham, tall lorries would be unable to pass under the railway bridge with its 14ft-6in height restriction or pass under the 14ft-0in height restricted railway bridge in Merrow Lane.

Having now seen the, only recently made available, detailed drawings of the proposed scheme I would make the following observations:

  • The removal of all right-turn lanes/refuges from the Boxgrove (AA) Roundabout to the northern Abbotswood entrance and the narrowing of the road will lead to additional, already significant traffic congestion.
  • From “Highclere” to the entrance to George Abbott School playing fields there will be only a shared surface with no independent cycle lanes. At least the existing cycle lane is separate from the footpath.
  • Filling in of the bus layby opposite Anchor and Horseshoes will lead to further congestion with buses stopping on the main carriageway, especially when disgorging or embarking numerous George Abbott school children.
  • The notation on the pink cycleway has been blanked out. Why and what did it say?
  • Why not move the Pelican crossing opposite the London Road/ Kingpost Parade so it is directly adjacent to the entrance to the Aldi store? The route most of the pedestrians desire now is one crossing to and from Aldi with many members of the public taking their chances crossing in between traffic.
  • Why is there just a northbound traffic closure? Why is there no southbound closure for half the time? However, in any event, two-way traffic should be maintained.
  • As Dragon editor Martin Giles says, this stretch of London Road with its existing cycle lanes “is not the worst by a long way. It is straight and flat and wider than some”.
  • I would advocate leaving the existing cycle lanes as they are but with some improvements
    here and there. The pedestrian crossings across Woodruff Avenue/ Waylea Avenue and Burpham Lane/New Inn Lane seem to be a worthwhile proposal.

Given SCC’s complete dictatorial stance, the only way forward that would allow improvements and an acceptable works scheme to carry them out, agreed by local residents and businesses, would seem to be taking out an injunction against SCC based on non-consultation, failure to follow procedures, safety concerns and acting undemocratically.

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test 3 Responses to Letter: Is Legal Redress the Only Option to Change SCC’s Approach to London Road Project?

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 11, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    May I make one correction: the offical route which has to be suitable for HGVs is into Merrow and down Park Lane into New Inn Lane, turning right across the southbound traffic to continue north to Sainsbury’s.

  2. Wayne Smith Reply

    December 11, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    With regard to moving the Pelican crossing, I once raised the issue of Aldi customers ignoring the crossing and dicing with death for the sake of 20 yards or so walk. It should have been dealt with at the planning stage. There was poor, or lack of any, oversight by SCC.

    My suggestion of a pavement railing to force use of the crossing was rebuffed on grounds of not enough room from the curb, yet there is a railing approaching the roundabout.

    Another solution would be to close the existing pedestrian access from the store and make a new opening directly by the crossing. A yellow hatched box on the roundabout would also go a long way to avoiding gridlock at the roundabout.

    Of course, none of this would be necessary if Aldi’s car park was of sufficient size and the store was not in such a poor location.

    Questionable planning/highways department decisions again!

  3. Jack Bayliss Reply

    December 12, 2022 at 9:36 am

    I feel so strongly about this that I would be willing to support crowdfunding for judicial review. I shall also be telling my Surrey county councilor and my MP that they have completely lost my support.

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