Fringe Box



Letter: London Road – Some Concerns About the Consultation

Published on: 16 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 16 Oct, 2023

From: Niels Laub


See other articles on the proposed changes to London Road here.

It is now nearly four weeks into the consultation process for the Active Travel Scheme proposed for the London Road in Guildford and I have four concerns:

The absence of letters of notice
It has become clear that a significant number of people have yet to receive a notice of the consultation period and the drop-in events. In my view, it is important that all the people who use the London Road on a daily basis, or rely on the London Road for their business, customers and deliveries, should be given adequate notice of this public consultation, the drop in events and the existence of the questionnaire.

Misleading statements in the letter of notice
I think Surrey County Council should correct the following four statements in their letter giving notice:

1. It states: “We have been working with the community, stakeholders, and equality groups to develop materials which explain the full scheme and a survey to help us better understand people’s views.”

This is misleading as it could easily give the impression that local stakeholders have had an input into the design and the questionnaire. But the stakeholders were not content with the questions and have had no input into the design or its presentation.

2. It states: “We are no longer proposing road closures during the day and have committed to keeping the road free of closures or traffic lights during the day.”

This is misleading in that it does not provide any details of the considerable traffic constraints that will occur during the day for approximately 18 months.

3. It states: “In addition, we are no longer proposing to narrow the width of the road to six metres. Instead, the road will remain the same width as it is currently.”

This is incorrect and highly misleading. This statement should be removed, and the drawings displayed at the drop-in events should be fully dimensioned to show the widths of carriageways and pavements in the restricted areas of the London Road.

4. It states: “Surrey has the highest number of cycling casualties in the UK and we want to help address this by providing safer cycling spaces across the county.”

This is also highly misleading as it refers to the whole of Surrey and not London Road which has a relatively good safety record. This statement is particularly galling bearing in mind that the Dutch-style roundabout in Cambridge has seen an increase in accidents since its installation.

The material displayed at the drop-in events
Surrey County Council ought to amend the material displayed at the drop-in events. The drawings should include dimensions on all areas of the scheme including the narrow, restricted areas.

The new traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossings should be made more obvious and the drawings increased in size and made more readable. The animations give a misleading impression and should either show more realistic levels of traffic of simply be removed.

I also believe the Surrey County Council should be open and clear about those elements of the proposals which are not fully compliant with Local Transport Note 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design.

The Questionnaire
In my opinion, the questionnaire is biased and tends to encourage only favourable responses. For example, it is asked: “How important to you is it that the updated proposals for the scheme contribute to increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists?” – obviously it is important.

The questionnaire should be cancelled and recast to include questions that have been properly agreed with the Stakeholder Group that provide an opportunity for the public to voice more detailed concerns about the scheme.

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Responses to Letter: London Road – Some Concerns About the Consultation

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    October 16, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    I went to the first consultation presentation at George Abbot School and overheard someone telling one of the SCC officials that that they hadn’t received a notification of the drop-in dates. The response was that SCC couldn’t notify everyone and there was a “catchment area” cut-off.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    October 16, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Once again Niels Laub highlights the significant flaws and deceptions in the proposed London Road traffic Scheme and consultation. To which may be added the undoubted risk of vehicles finding rat runs down currently quiet residential streets to avoid the inevitable traffic congestion.

    One example is clearly Nightingale Road. If one bans right turns into York Road, Nightingale Road is an obvious alternative route. But Nightingale Road is narrow and currently parked cars mean that is is in effect a contra-flow, with one direction of traffic having to give way to the opposite flow.

    There are many other examples along the proposed route that can be illustrated. Another point seemingly missed by SCC is the fact that a good proportion of traffic displaced by this scheme will find its way to the Epsom Road, the potential outcome being vehicle access to Guildford from the east will be gridlocked.

    Is anyone at SCC listening to the reasoned and reasonable fact based arguments? I doubt it.

  3. Moira Brown Reply

    October 16, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    The much delayed, but very relevant, “Modelling Report” is now available on the SCC website. It would have been more helpful to have this information at the beginning of the Consultation process. In a nutshell the Active Travel Plan would make cycle and pedestrian journeys along the London Road into Guildford more attractive and car journeys less so. Delays caused by additional crossing points (I think 14 are planned) for cycles and pedestrians (and lack of pull-in bus stops) will “encourage drivers to find alternative routes”. There will be “some impact on residential streets”. I suppose that will be called collateral damage. The “…banned right turn from London Road into York Road…” will cause Nightingale Road to be one of those “impacted” and I’m sure residents in the other surrounding roads will be able to work out the effect on the safety and peace of their neighbourhoods. Tormead Road, Cranley Road, Clandon Road Dene Road to name but a few. One wonders what all these cyclists will do when they arrive in Guildford, which is dying before our eyes, and what will become of their bikes while they are doing it. Is this scheme really good value for money?

  4. Roger Carnegie Reply

    October 17, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    Good grief, is there anything Mr Laub doesn’t have concerns about ?

    Perhaps the weather, or the price of a pint of milk. Although recently, the latter is truly concerning.

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