Fringe Box



Letter: London Road – What Will SCC’s Survey Find?

Published on: 17 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 17 Dec, 2023

From: Terry Newman

chair of the London Road Action Group (LRAG)

Friday saw the end of Surrey CC’s engagement period for the Burpham to Guildford Active Travel Scheme.  A report will be prepared by the Consultation Institute from the inputs made by the public on the Commonplace survey

Many respondents have remarked to me about an impression that this survey was biased in tone and content, and attempted to ensure a positive outcome would be achieved.  As a participant in the stakeholder group, which was formed to assist in the formulation of this survey, I am unable to contradict their opinions.

At the outset of the survey development, stakeholder participants were advised that only qualitative assessments, not quantitative ones, were to be contemplated.  Yet, a series of questions were set that can only be presumed to lend themselves to quantitative analysis (the agree/disagree type).

Commentators have been asked to express views on matters, in which they may have no expertise, nor have they been given evidence to make an assessment.  

Nowhere to be found are details of the effect of the construction, the subsequent increased congestion and the rate of reduction in vehicle usage by an uptake of active travel, in improving air quality and achieving the council’s net zero carbon ambitions. A question was posed about the level of importance of the scheme’s contribution, but no indication of its possible achievement.

Assessment of the effect on safety of the proposed design should be forthcoming from persons specialising in this field, such as within a Road Safety Audit.  Yet no evidence of such an audit taking place has been presented. Nevertheless, commentators having been asked repeatedly to offer opinions on the design safety, without being properly guided to independent specialist evaluations.

“Disruption” mitigation is a theme, but only the switch from daytime to night-time working is highlighted.  Night working was condemned by SCC in its original plan of 2022 as being unsuitable because of its effect on the local residents.  Simply rowing back on that previous statement will not resolve the anticipated night-time disturbance to be endured. 

It would, therefore, seem ironic if any attempt is made to present data in an analysis report as a measurement comparison of those for or against the scheme.  If this happens, it will show this initial commitment by Surrey CC, and its consultants during this engagement, as having misled stakeholders in persuading them to create a non-quantitative assessment. Any such presentation of quantitative results could create opportunities for challenge to the entire process.

Alternatively, would any such quantitative analyses offer any greater validity, or possess greater weight of contemplation during decision-making, than reactions to recent open community questions? Those about whether the scheme should proceed against massive public opposition, as committed by the leader of the County Council on 5th January?

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Responses to Letter: London Road – What Will SCC’s Survey Find?

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 18, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    If only SCC had talked to the community ideas would have come forward, less radical but more workable.

    For example a cycle lane on one side of London Road, pedestrians the other, improvement of the Stoke Park cycle paths improvement of off side road cycle routes in the estates. That is were the school children come from!

    But sadly, SCC didn’t ask and said with great intransigence “All or Nothing!”

    So much money wasted, so much conflict generated within the community.

    So much future traffic congestion.

  2. John Lomas Reply

    December 19, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    It will find whatever SCC wanted it to find when they set it up.

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