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Letter: Still Some Concerns on Planned Consultation for London Road Cycle Scheme

Published on: 28 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 28 Jun, 2023

London Road meeting in January 2023.

From: Fiona Davidson

Surrey County Councillor (R4GV, Guildford South-East)

In response to Letter: What Next for the London Road Cycle Scheme

Unfortunately, I can’t answer all Pat Gallagher’s questions in his recent letter to The Dragon on the London Road Active Travel Scheme, but I can provide a progress report. Interested readers can find lots more information on the London Road Action Group (LRAG) website.

The second meeting of the Sustainable Transport Reference Group (STRG), set up by Surrey County Council  (SCC) with the remit of helping SCC shape an engagement process for future engagement with the community, was held on June 21.

The group comprises representatives from various residents’ associations in the London Road area, schools, G-BUG, Guildford Borough Council, the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People, and bus operators, amongst others. Sadly, no-one representing businesses in Guildford has attended either of the first two meetings, although the Surrey Chambers of Commerce has been invited.

Following my request, at this meeting we were able to view the plans for the whole London Road scheme, although technical details had not been included. We were assured that the technical drawings would be made available before a design workshop, which is planned.

So, what have we learned so far?

The drawings show that the scheme has been extended past the Waterden Road / York Road junction with London Road up to Alexandra Terrace (past G Live), at the junction with the Upper High Street. This came as something of a surprise as it had not been mooted previously. We were told that a decision on this extension will be made in the next month or so.

The current plan is to run three further sessions with the STRG to discuss the proposed implementation, and two workshops to look at the details of the design and the implementation before engagement with the public in September and October.

Some design and implementation concerns raised on January 5 have been addressed, others are outstanding. The LRAG website provides further information.

The form of the public engagement has not yet been determined, but is likely to include drop-in sessions and a social media campaign. The public will be able to provide feedback on SCC’s platform. The views of STRG participants will influence how the plans are presented and brought alive. A virtual reality model of the Dutch roundabout has already been commissioned.

In describing the new public consultation as an engagement, SCC has stressed that this time around the consultation exercise will be qualitative, not quantitative. A survey is not planned.

The engagement in September / October will cover the whole London Road scheme – from New Inn Lane to either Waterden / York Road or Alexandra Terrace.

The work of the STRG continues, so it would be premature to draw any definite conclusions about plans and the engagement process.

However, I am concerned that the views of those most impacted by the plans will be drowned by the scale of the engagement that appears to be under consideration.

The previous consultation cited positive support for the scheme based on a very limited telephone survey of residents living within 2km of London Road, and a focus group with a large number of residents living elsewhere in Surrey.

I’m concerned we may have come full circle, just with a much larger audience.

SCC is currently unable to confirm how the views of those directly impacted, including the residents, businesses, and schools local to London Road, will be accurately captured and reported during the proposed engagement.

I hope this significant limitation will be remedied so that local residents can be confident that their views really count!

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Responses to Letter: Still Some Concerns on Planned Consultation for London Road Cycle Scheme

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 28, 2023 at 12:43 am

    In short, either it will be quietly dropped because the uproar is too loud in the election year.

    Or, judging by previous events, we will get what we are given you as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Great reset” and the “inverted triangle of transport” which expects everyone to walk and cycle, no matter the travel distance.

    Noting this WEF diagram of the “inverted triangle” appears in approved paperwork signed off by SCC, perhaps Cllr Matt Furniss Cabinet member for Transport) could explain its journey from the WEF in Davos to road space in Guildford?

  2. Bethan Moore Reply

    June 30, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    Great news they are extending to the High Street so we can make our lovely town centre even more human friendly and support local businesses.

    I use this route a lot and was wondering what I would do when my son is too old to cycle on the pavement. I really hate trying to park the car and feel less guilty about having cake if I cycle or walk.

    I agree we need to keep disruption to a minimum but there is so much to gain. In the long term my son will be travelling to George Abbot School, so it’s really reassuring there will be safer routes available.

  3. Sue Hackman Reply

    July 7, 2023 at 10:58 am

    Active travel such as cycling and walking is an important choice if we wish to reduce energy consumption and the threat from climate change. I’m all for it as I think the cycle lane is too close to traffic to be safe for children.

    My concern about the London Road improvement is that there are some safety issues to be resolved:

    • The pinch points where the cycle and pedestrian pathways merge, because pedestrians are slow and cycles are fast. That’s got to be a risk.
    • How sustainable movement is managed where side-roads cut into the active travel paths;
    • The initial accident risks of introducing the Dutch (people and cycles first) roundabout;
    • The problems of stepping off one of the “floating” bus stops onto an uninterrupted cycle path to get to the pedestrian paths;
    • How emergency vehicles operate down the narrowed carriageway when cars are backed up at peak times.

    Excellent bus services have to come along at the same time as active travel for those of us who are disabled, very elderly, encumbered or live further out, and businesses along the road need a guarantee that their customers can reach them during the months of roadworks.

    Sue Hackman is a Labour Party activist.

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