Fringe Box



Letter: What Next for the London Road Cycle Scheme?

Published on: 25 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 25 Jun, 2023

The public meeting held on the London Road scheme in January

From Pat Gallagher

In response to: London Road, Burpham – Five-Month Closure Ruled Out

What’s happening about the London Road cycle scheme?

I see from Surrey County Council’s website for the London Road, Burpham – Active Travel Scheme, in the first update for two months, that they were due meet with the stakeholder group on Wednesday (June 21)  to seek the best way to engage with the community.

This engagement was something that they did not do back in November 2022. They were given a bloody nose at a public meeting on January 5 2023 and hopefully, as a result, realised that they have a democratic responsibility to act for the public, not against it.

The leader of the SCC acknowledged this in saying it would be “madness” to proceed against a weight of the public’s wishes.

In the intervening period, taken to review and revamp both the design and how it can be built, the issues that so inflamed the public must not be forgotten. Presumably the stakeholders will have kept a good record of what was wrong with the first iteration and what needed to be put right.

Is there a high-level list of matters that will have undergone change in order to allay concerns? What were the topics that were not done properly before, have been corrected and can be fully explained now? I keep a little checklist of my own impressions of what I shall be looking for, in order to make my mind up whether to support or oppose the scheme with all its revisions:

Openness – Will the public be given full disclosure this time about all relevant matters that have been contemplated, whilst making decisions about the changes?

Disruption – How will the scheme get built, now that a commitment has been made not to make a 5-month northbound road closure? Whatever traffic management means are deemed necessary, will they ensure pollution is not worsened?

Congestion – Peak time traffic is permanently on a knife-edge of gridlock. Will the installation of dedicated cycle lanes, pedestrian crossings and roundabout re-designs ensure that it does not worsen? Have planned housing developments, e.g., Gosden Hill, been considered for their effect on future traffic levels?

Safety – Can emergency services still react with the same speed? Are pedestrians, cyclists and motorists adequately separated at all times? Are the cycling facilities adequate to encourage their use and get cyclists off the road? [I see that the London Road Action Group has a website with articles from across the country, showing examples of some of the possible hazards.]

Balance and Cost – Is the scheme going to make a significant change to travel habits and reduce traffic, bearing in mind the majority who presently use the route are from out-of-town? Does the cost justify the effects of the scheme?

Options – Are there any other options to altering London Road itself, as with Dagley Lane in Shalford?

This is obviously not a comprehensive list of matters that the stakeholder group have to collate into some easily assimilated and digestible format to put in front of the community, by whatever publicity means they choose.

The first consultation was laughable in its pathetically-limited extent, by not including an appropriate number of those affected by the scheme. So, my final checklist point is:

Feedback – How will the public make their feelings known this time, and how will they influence the end conclusion?

I trust that it won’t be found necessary for people to have to hang out of the doors of George Abbot school hall, again, to get their message across – or, come to think of it, an even bigger venue now that the entirety of the scheme is being contemplated.

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Responses to Letter: What Next for the London Road Cycle Scheme?

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    June 27, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Regarding possible future levels of traffic from Gosden Hill it is worth bearing in mind that the Garlicks Arch development is already under construction along with other developments in the north-east of the borough. These will send significant levels of additional traffic into London Road thanks to the current Local Plan and it is too late to prevent it.

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