DECISIONS ON CHANGES TO LOCAL BUS ROUTES

Transport for London (TfL) have been consulting on changes to local bus routes, including the S1, S3, S4, 80 and 407, and have now reached decisions.

Their original proposals and the report on the outcome of consultation can be found on the Transport for London’s website: tfl.gov.uk/sutton-croydon-bus-changes

The outcome means that there is little change to the situation in our Ward.

The main outcome is that changes to the S3 bus that might have affected our area have not been pursued, which means the S3 will still serve Cedar Road and Langley Park Road. Changes to the S4 route that affected our area are not implemented and it will still run to Overton Grange school and along Grange Road. We are pleased with this outcome, which means there will not be any detriment to services in our Ward, and points we put into the letter of representation sent by Sutton Council have been acted on.

PARKING PERMIT SCHEME SUPPORTED IN CONSULTATION COMES INTO OPERATION

The Sutton South Parking Permit Area came into force on Monday 30 November. The scheme had been subject to several rounds of consultation. Earlier proposals were thrown out by the residents but the scheme now implemented, after further consultation, won broad support. In the final round of consultation a majority of those responding, in every road that the scheme covers, supported the proposal, often by large majorities, as the following figures show:

Chalgrove Road – 76% support

The Ridgway – 70% support

Mayfield Road – 68% support

Upland Road – 87% support

The scheme covers, broadly, roads east of Langley Park Road as far as Banstead Road South. So Chalgrove Road, Mayfield, The Ridgway, Farm Road, Farm Close, Upland, Downside, Kayemoor, Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue. It prohibits parking in the road between 9 am and 11 am on weekdays unless you are a resident of the area and display a parking permit on your car. It means that those (including Richard) who need to park a vehicle in the road between 9 and 11 am on weekdays need to have obtained a parking permit. All residents can obtain a supply of visitors’ permits. 

It has long been recognised that clearing the parked cars from roads such as Mayfield Road will lead to speeding. This is one of the reasons why, at the same time, a six month trial of making this area a 20 mph speed limit area is underway.

Richard comments “I have lived in The Ridgway, in our Ward, for 32 years, and can remember that way back then neighbours said it was a great place to live but the parking was a problem. A few years back the Council bravely seized this nettle – I say bravely as it is a divisive and complex issue with zealots on every side of the argument. The first set of proposals were rejected by the residents but, after a lot of further study of the responses to consultation, a scheme was devised that has won widespread support. I regard this as a success for the parking consultation strategy.”

On the first morning of operation of the scheme Richard walked round the area to check that the “hats” over the signs had all been removed. There was a big sweep of enforcement officers through the area to “ticket” cars unlawfully parked, but these people just got a warning letter rather than a fine.

The scheme is subject to a six month review. We have not learned of problems with the scheme but let us know if any arise that you are aware of.

EXCITING NEW STREET ART AT SUTTON STATION

The artwork viewed from the north
The artwork viewed from the south

The renowned artist Lionel Stanhope has brightened up our Ward. The painting, on the railway bridge at Sutton station, is not easy to photograph, so what is shown below is a CGI of the artwork created before the painting was undertaken. What is above, is the painting.

The railway bridge at Sutton station has been brightened up with a painting by the renowned artist Lionel Stanhope, whose art has brightened up many railway stations. Stanhope completed the painting in four days starting on 26 May. Stanhope is regarded by many as a better and more important street artist than Banksy. We have been pleased to support this project which brings an attractive feature to add interest to the area.The façade of the railway bridge, as you come out of Sutton station and turn left,was a patchwork of various colours. The Council first tried to interest Network Rail in making the bridge look more attractive, over four years ago, during the “Sutton Gateway” project, which involved re-paving the area around the station and the installation of the clock opposite Sutton station. The artwork has been mainly funded by Network Rail, with a small contribution from Sutton Council.
The parapet of the bridge required extensive cleaning and preparation before the painting commenced. Lionel Stanhope produced a design which incorporates the word “Sutton” in the typeface traditionally used by Southern railway, and a depiction of the historic Sutton locomotive. The locomotive “Sutton” came into the possession of the Council many years ago and is a 144 year old, 28 tonne, 26 feet, A1 class Terrier steam engine. It is currently with a heritage railway undertaking in Tunbridge Wells who have undertaken to restore it.
The painting is an addition to an area becoming famous for its street art. Within two hundred yards you can find the remarkable statue “The Messenger”, located directly outside the entrance to Quadrant House in The Quadrant. The Messenger is a statue, a sculpture in bronze with very dark patination, completed by David Wynne in 1981, of a large horse and rider. It was a major commission for the sculptor, who died in 2014. It took four years to complete from his first idea and inspiration, on receipt of the brief – through roughing out, refining and casting in a foundry, to the final unveiling and installation.
We are not including a photograph of the statue in this post due to the philistine attitude of the owners of Quadrant House, who do not cherish this artwork and have stuck a notice on the front of it about some aspect of building maintenance, thus disfiguring it. They have been unco-operative in the face of requests to remove the notice.
Even more striking is the remarkable mural by the famous Spanish “street” artist from Bilbao, Eva Mena, on a wall in nearby Wellesley Road. This is said to be of the American singer and musician Erykah Badu. The work was commissioned by the owners of the building, Indepth Hygiene Services. It was painted in three days in 2010, when the artist came over from Spain to paint it. It is entirely typical of her street art, which is to be found on walls in many parts of the world, including Egypt, Ireland and Spain, as well as Sutton. Eva Mena is said to be more famous than Banky in her native Spain.

SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME TO PARKING CONSULTATION

We now have the results of the final stage of the Council’s consultation on parking. The third round of consultation was on a proposal developed from the results of the first two consultations, for a Permit Parking Area in roads in our Ward east of Langley Park Road.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE EARLIER ROUNDS OF CONSULTATION

As parking is often raised as a problem in the regular surveys of residents on what they like about living in Sutton, the Council asked residents if parking was a problem in their road and what they would like done. Earlier rounds of consultation led to proposals that were not given sufficient support by residents for the Council to proceed with them.

There were concerns that unless the controls cover the whole local area parking will be displaced into roads without controls, and “free to park at any time” bays would be a magnet for commuters and long stay parkers, squeezing out residents. The alternative to schemes that have these disadvantages is a residents-only Permit Parking Area (PPA).

THE FINAL STAGE OF CONSULTATION

Consequently, the Council consulted residents at the end of 2019 on a proposed PPA. As roads not within the scheme will suffer from displaced parking if the roads nearby are in the scheme, the area consulted on was wide, running from Egmont Road to Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue – including Chalgrove Road, The Ridgway, Mayfield Road, Farm Road, Farm Close, Upland Road, Kayemoor Road, Downside Road, Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue.

The results of the consultation are clear – in every one of the roads listed above a majority of those expressing a view on the proposals supported their introduction. In some roads – particularly Chalgrove, Mayfield, The Ridgway, Upland – this was by a large margin. In all these roads more than one in four residents responded to the study, a high response rate for such local consultation exercises, and opinion was more than two to one in support of the proposed parking controls. In other roads consulted there was a lower response rate but still majorities in favour of the proposals. Once a scheme is introduced, any individual road left out will suffer high levels of parking, so any scheme needs to cover the whole area. It is a clear result that gives the Council a mandate to proceed with the introduction of the PPA consulted on.

The way the PPA works is that only residents can park their vehicles in the road for a “control period”, 9 to 11 AM each day on weekdays, thus removing commuters and long stay parkers. Residents who need to park a car on the road rather than in their drive during the “control period” will need to obtain a parking permit to display on the vehicle, and many residents will want to obtain “visitors’ permits” for their visitors if the visitors need to park in the street during the control period. There are special arrangements for carers. As this scheme will involve some costs of administration and enforcement there will be a charge for a permit, to cover costs, though all residents can get an initial supply of visitors’ permits without charge. The Council can cover costs but not use parking charges to subsidise other services. Parking charges in Sutton are amongst the lowest of any London borough. Charges per vehicle are on a scale you can find on the Council website and start at £40. A similar charge in Croydon is £80, Merton and Kingston £90, Richmond £99. You only need a permit if you need to park a car in the road during the “control period.” A PPA involves notices to advise motorists of the parking controls but there is no need for yellow lines.

Residents will receive a letter from the Council which will set out the timetable for introducing the scheme, later this year, and how to obtain permits.

Many residents are concerned about parking and we are pleased they have now had the opportunity to put their view on a concrete proposal developed on the basis of consultation, and a clear outcome has emerged.

SPEEDING AND POLLUTION

We are concerned that the removal of parking from the area will lead to clear roads that will attract more traffic and speeding. In many parts of London, though often more affluent areas, residents have campaigned to get the traffic out of otherwise quiet residential streets and onto the main roads by turning roads into cul-de-sacs, thus creating quiet roads with better air quality and no through traffic. A good example locally is the gate at the end of Dorset Road which makes Homeland Drive a quiet, traffic free road. We are interested in the proposals residents have been putting to us for consultation on such traffic initiatives in our area. Nothing is currently proposed but, as traffic continues to increase, this is the next issue we need to look at. Do let us know your views.    

GO SUTTON BUS WITHDRAWN: JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN TO KEEP THE BUS

The coronavirus crisis has led to the suspension of the Go Sutton bus service, as demand for the service has collapsed due to the restrictions on leaving your home and on travelling. We will petition to have it restored once the crisis is over.

The Go Sutton bus trial attracted massive attention. Information is at http://www.gosutton.co.uk

The year-long trial for this on-demand bus service had positive feedback and the service was extended to cover the area shown on the map. You could register online and phone when you want to use the bus. The cost was £3.50 (plus additional passengers at £2) but free if you have a Freedom Pass, like Richard.

The bus service was innovative, on-demand scheme which picked up
residents close to where they lived and took them to any destination
across most parts of the borough. The scheme started in 2019
and was due to end in May 2020 but Liberal Democrats in Sutton petitioned for the service to become permanent.
Residents told us, especially elderly people or those with learning difficulties, that the bus scheme proved to be a lifeline for them.
That’s why Liberal Democrat councillors set up a petition calling
on the Mayor of London and Transport for London to make the
scheme permanent.You can still sign the petition by clicking here .
Apart from helping people to get around the borough,  the scheme helped us to improve air quality, reduce congestion and cut down on the
number of individual car journeys. Please sign the petition.

WHERE WE ARE ON PARKING

THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN FEBRUARY 2019. THERE ARE LATER DEVELOPMENTS COVERED IN LATER ARTICLES, ABOVE. THIS ARTICLE IS KEPT ON THE SITE TO SHOW HOW THE PROPOSALS EVOLVED.

We would like to again thank residents who have contributed to the two stages of consultation by the Council on parking.

Since some misinformation has been put round in the Ward, we want to summarise where matters now stand – though all the information on the process is on the Council’s website, click on parking and follow the links to the parking strategy.

No decisions have been taken. We await the analysis by the traffic engineers of the results of the second consultation. As Councillors, we only want to do what residents want. We will be guided by the results of consultation and are determined not to impose our own views on this process.

What we know from the first consultation is this. Much of Sutton South Ward experiences a high demand for parking as we are close to the town centre and the railway station. Parking is rationed by having a controlled parking zone (CPZ) but this leads to bumper to bumper parking six days a week in the roads just outside the zone, such as Mayfield Road. The results of the first round of consultation were consistent with previous studies by Councillors, the Council and the residents’ association, in that:

  • there is a strong majority favouring parking controls in Mayfield Road
  • there are more mixed views in Chalgrove Road and The Ridgway but, overall, support for controls
  • there are more mixed views in Upland Road and roads beyond, though less support for parking controls the further you are from the CPZ.

The proposals of officers was to introduce controls in Mayfield, The Ridgway and Chalgrove. It will be interesting to see whether the results of the second consultation mean that other roads, in particular Upland Road, want to join the scheme. The objective of having successive consultations was to let residents have a second opportunity to give a view when they could see what was proposed for neighbouring roads, recognising that any parking scheme will lead to some displacement.

Previous surveys have suggested that there is no appetite for a full CPZ with machines. The solution adopted with success elsewhere in Sutton, including in Hillcroome Road, is to have a mix of yellow lines operative for an hour a day to deter commuters, with some free to park bays. These bays are needed to cater for residents who will need to park a vehicle on the road and they also reduce the amount of displacement into neighbouring roads, which is a legitimate consideration.

An alternative that has been suggested is to have a “residents’ only” parking scheme with residents obtaining a permit to park during controlled hours. Disadvantages are that this scheme would involve extensive signage along the roads involved, bureaucracy, and a cost as the administrative costs of dealing with permit applications would have to be covered by charges for permits. It would also lead to more displacement. We welcome views on that alternative.

Parking has been an issue of concern locally for the 30 years Richard has lived in The Ridgway. We want to tackle this issue though recognising that it is problematic. We are consulting and will do what the majority of residents want, not impose our own solutions.

A NEW BUS ROUTE

We have been asking local residents to have a look at this consultation by TfL.

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/lsp/56861abb/

This concerns a possible new bus route between St Helier Hospital and Epsom General Hospital, going along Brighton Road. This would be of benefit to local residents, particularly those elderly or infirm residents who do not have a car and frequently visit one of these hospitals. I am encouraging residents to respond positively to it.

CONSIDERATIONS RELATING TO TRANSPORT IN SUTTON SOUTH

 

bus

Transport for London is consulting on proposals for a new, direct and fast public transport link  service for Sutton and Merton. This consultation is called the Sutton Link and seeks views on bringing the tram to Sutton, or developing what is called a new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) route. You can respond to the consultation at

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/sutton-link

Councillor Whitehead, the Chair of Sutton Council’s transport liaison committee, and Sutton Council officers will be meeting with TfL London Buses in the New Year to discuss how bus services can be tailored to meet future development proposals in the borough. It will also provide an opportunity to raise any issues related to any shortcomings with existing services. A similar meeting has been held in previous years but Councillor Whitehead tells us a more thorough review of outer London services is now promised by TfL.

This is an opportunity to set out views on any changes we would like to see made to services in the area, including changes to frequencies or the duration of services, or route diversions/extensions to provide missing connections.

Officers will consider how this information is presented to TfL. However, the final decision on any such changes rests with TfL and there will be limited resources available.

Local residents in Sutton South Ward have raised with us the following concerns when consulted in the recent past.

Route frequency – although residents have commented that on some routes, such as route 80, frequency and reliability is good, bus 470 is seen as too infrequent, being only about every half hour.

Similarly, route S4 could be more frequent.

A further difficulty with the 470 is that it does not run on a Sunday so our suggestions for the 470 are to increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and (see below) extend it to Epsom hospital.

The X26 bus to Heathrow is used by many and the increased frequency of the X26 is welcome, but the buses have difficulty in keeping to the timetable, perhaps because of the length of the route. Some residents say they would not use it if travelling to Heathrow to catch a plane as it is not 100% reliable. There may thus be a case for increasing the frequency further.

Route length – could the 470 go to Epsom hospital rather than Epsom market as there are residents who use it to go to the hospital?

On route 151, the frequency and reliability is generally good but the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park.

Timetabling – it is noted that the 80 and 280 buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time. Could the timetabling be looked at?

Passenger information – it has been pointed out that the two bus stops in Mulgrave Road close to Sutton station do not include digital displays on bus arrival information. Although there are other ways of getting this information, on your mobile phone, not all passengers have the skill to get this.

A review of the information arrangements was suggested for some routes. On route 164, at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes.

Other matters – There has often been comment on arrangements at Sutton station. A resident suggested that congestion in Mulgrave Roadcould be alleviated by moving the taxi rank. It would be possible to move it to The Quadrant now the side entrance to the station is open, but this would probably be unpopular with the taxi drivers and railway passengers, and was not a proposal pursued under the Sutton Gateway project. A resident also commented that this part of Mulgrave Road has on occasions been briefly flooded during very heavy downpours. I have asked Council engineers to investigate.

A summary of these comments, by bus route, is:

470 – increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and extend it to Epsom hospital

151 – the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park

80 and 280 – buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time so review the timetabling

164 – review the information arrangements as at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes

S1 – review the way the timetable is set out on the website

S4 – review the frequency.

It should be noted that while this summary is focussed on suggesting improvements, many residents have commented to us in favourable terms on the frequency and reliability of local bus services.

We have put this digest of views forward to officers for consideration. Any decision rests, of course, with Transport for London.

MORE VEHICLE SPEED SIGNS TO BE INSTALLED

 

The speed signs – one in each direction – in Farm Road

The “Speed Awareness Signs” that warn motorists of their speed are very effective. We are finalising arrangements to instal more of these signs, in Grange Road and in Cedar Road.

Locations have been agreed for the new speeding signs the Council will instal in Cedar Road. They will be slightly different from the ones in Farm Road, pictured, One sign in each direction, they will warn motorists of their speed as they approach the Langley Park Road junction. A study in 2012 found cars regularly speed in Cedar Road despite the humps and 20 mph speed limit. But residents were unhappy with a proposal for a width restriction. A re-arrangement of the parking places and the zebra crossing at the Brighton Road end have been of some help in slowing the traffic. Last year Richard took part in a police “Speedwatch” operation to record the speed of speeding vehicles in the road and was surprised at the speed some vehicles reached.

PREVENTING SPEEDING: AND GRANGE VALE CLOSED AGAIN ON 5 FEBRUARY

Two speed signs – one in each direction – in Farm Road

Two new developments in our war on speeding – new speed indicator signs in Farm Road. These do have an impact on traffic speeds, as people are reminded how fast they are going. Where else should we have them?

And the width restriction has now been installed in Grange Vale to slow traffic passing under the bridge, which will be of benefit to pedestrians passing along the narrow pavement under the bridge against the flow of traffic (in particular if pushing a buggy).

Almost as soon as the width restriction was installed on 22 January it was vandalised, with one of the bollards being removed. This must have been done by someone with sophisticated cutting equipment. the road will be closed again on Monday 5 February for the bollard to be replaced.