EARLY SUCCESS FOR CAMPAIGN TO BRING TRAMS TO SUTTON

tram

Sutton Council’s campaign to bring trams to the Borough is celebrating an early success. 

Plans to extend the existing Tramlink network to Sutton have been included in the Mayor’s new vision for London document, “2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth”, published last week.  It outlines some of the challenges facing the capital, including housing, employment and transport.

Sutton Council, business and residents support the tram extension, which will improve transport links in and out of, and across, Sutton. The project will also create and sustain new jobs, drive economic growth, ease traffic congestion and reduce CO2 emissions.

 We understand the original draft of the Mayor’s vision document made no mention of bringing the tram to Sutton, but our Tramlink campaign, still in its infancy, has already yielded a result. The Mayor of London is asking us to demonstrate how this investment will be justified by the improvements it can bring in terms of jobs, growth, and housing.

Sutton is already one step ahead.  We have commissioned research which demonstrates that extending Tramlink to Sutton will create 10,000 jobs, bring forward sites for residential development, and support and boost the economy. 

We know that extending Tramlink will ensure Sutton continues to prosper into the future. The Borough of Sutton has had an ambition to bring Tramlink to Sutton since 2003 when it was included in the Unitary Development Plan. The Borough has successfully worked with Transport for London to examine the feasibility of bringing trams to central Sutton, connecting it to St Helier Hospital, Morden Tube Station and Wimbledon. At some point a spur through our Ward, Sutton South, would connect to the Marsden hospital. This feasibility work is ongoing, and Sutton’s Tramlink campaign seeks to ensure the Mayor will continue to fund this work in Transport for London’s future budgets.

SUBSTANTIAL PRICE INCENTIVES PROPOSED TO HELP PEOPLE MOVE TO GIBSON ROAD CAR PARK IF BRIGHTON ROAD CAR PARK CLOSES

 

subsea reduced

Speaking at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee on 13 June Richard welcomed progress on agreeing a structure of incentives to persuade Brighton Road car park users to move to Gibson Road if the car park closes. Currently, Subsea7 are applying for planning permission to build a new international headquarters (see above) on the site.

Richard pointed out that this development will safeguard several hundred jobs currently in Sutton that were likely to move elsewhere, and bring a further three to four hundred jobs into Sutton South Ward. These new jobs are good news for Sutton.

This development will create jobs, not just for engineers but a range of less skilled jobs (clerks, receptionists, cleaners, messengers, drivers etc.). This site is surrounded by areas of social housing where we meet, in our casework, people who are out of work and whose lives would be transformed by finding work. Every day we open the newspaper and see news of more redundancies nationwide – but Richard and Heather can speak of securing an extra 300 plus jobs in our Ward. The development will also give an uplift to the area, the Gateway to Sutton from the south, with office workers and the company’s clients spending money in local shops, restaurants and hotels, creating further jobs.

But the second message is that to deal with local concerns about parking in local streets if the car park closes, we need to persuade the users of the Brighton Road car park to use the town centre car parks, which have the capacity. The average weekday demand at peak occupancy of the car park is about 380 vehicles and 320 have season tickets. So the season ticket holders are key.   

The first and most important element in the strategy is a financial discount to persuade people to move. The discount proposed by the Committee, as a recommendation to the Strategy and Resources Committee, says to the season ticket holders “move to Gibson Road and you will pay, for the first year, what you paid last year less 10% – unless, you already have a discount, in which case it continues. This is to compensate you for the inconvenience of moving and to provide an incentive to move to Gibson Road”.

We hope this will persuade people to move, to a car park which is no more than seven minutes walk away.

The further element of the strategy is improvements in respect of signage to the car parks (including electronic signs indicating what number spaces are available) and improvements in access, in particular enabling those leaving Gibson Road to avoid the town centre one way system.

We hope this proposed substantial discount will achieve the right result, so that we will be able to secure the major advantage of the new jobs while coping with the reduction in parking space. The structure of discounts will, however, be further considered by the Strategy and Resources Committee.

FURTHER ACTION ON SPEEDING

Previous posts on this site have described how Richard and Heather presented a petition to Sutton Council last July on speeding in Cavendish Road. This led to the biggest speeding survey ever in our Ward, and to agreement on width restrictions to reduce speeding at two points in Cedar Road and two points in Cavendish Road.

In addition we have proposed and obtained funding for additional “20 mph” roundels to be painted on roads within the South Sutton 20mph area. This will enable the Council to put 20 mph “roundels” on the road at the east end of Cavendish Road to match those at the west end. There have always been roundels at the west end, so drivers know it is a 20mph zone they are entering. At the east end there is no roundel as the driver is already in a 20 mph zone and the law said the roundels could only be placed at the entry point to the zone. A recent change in the law means the roundels can now be displayed within the zone to re-enforce the message. We hope to have additional roundels at several points within the 20mph zone to re-enforce the message that you are in such a zone.

We are convinced this will help with the speeding problem in Cavendish Road, and elsewhere in the 20mph zone.

roundels

PROMOTING THE SUTTON TRAMLINK

tram

Sutton Council has made public detailed plans for an extension of London Tramlink to the town. The plans were made public at a meeting on Thursday 23 May attended by Councillors, local business leaders and the Under Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker MP, who was at the launch event to give the project his backing. .

The planned route would run from the existing Tramlink Croydon-Wimbledon line at Merton through Rosehill and St Helier, Angel Hill, and Sutton High Street to a terminal at Sutton station. A later second phase would link the town centre to the Royal Marsden Hospital.

The tram connection would cut local journey times and costs, reduce pollution on the streets of Sutton and help regenerate areas such as the St Helier Estate by encouraging investment, improving access and widening the job market in the areas concerned.

The extension through our Ward to the Marsden hospital would be of importance as it is expected that the development of a research centre at the Marsden will create many local jobs. 

The Tramlink is a major plank in the “Opprtunity Sutton” programme, which Richard is closely involved with as vice-chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee.

KINGS LANE BRIDGE WORK ABOUT TO START

 

kings lane inspection 10.1.12

On the morning of 10 January Richard and Heather met some local residents and the Council’s traffic engineers at the Kings Lane bridge to inspect the proposed works and discuss the practicalities of implementation.

Following discussions wth residents, the original proposal to build out the kerb on both sides at the Hillcroome Road end (shown above) has been reduced, with a bollard and kerb build out on the left hand side in the above picture. However, there will be hatching on the road which will have the effect of moving traffic to a more central position. The overall effect will be to make the traffic coming from the Hillcroome Road end more visible to pedestrians on the bridge, and motorists will see pedestrians earlier. The signage will be replaced and improved.

Work will commence during January and there will be a traffic light system on the bridge during the period of the works.

We see this as a small but useful safety improvement.

THAMESLINK DECISION TO BE REVIEWED

Richard presenting the Petition

Our campaign to save the Thameslink loop line and ensure trains from Sutton continue to run direct to the north of London took a step forward when Sutton Councillors were involved in a delegation that met Simon Burns, Minister of State for Transport, on 26 November.  

During the meeting Mr Burns said that he had told the Department for Transport to review the decision to cut the line at Blackfriars and report back to him early in 2013.

The current plan would see the service – which links Sutton to Luton and St Albans through central and north London, calling at key stops such as the City, Farringdon and St Pancras International – severed at Blackfriars from 2018. But it transpired during the meeting that keeping the Loop Line intact would add only 28 seconds to average train times from Blackfriars, and Mr Burns told the meeting the engineering issues at Blackfriars were not insurmountable.

Richard says “We have not yet won, But I think we can take heart from the fact that the Minister is now well aware of the issue and our strong views. He has agreed that the case must be reviewed. I hope the petition I was involved in presenting at the department for Transport has added to the pressure.”

LARGEST EVER SPEED SURVEY IN SUTTON SOUTH NOW UNDERWAY

The largest scale survey of traffic speed and direction ever undertaken in Sutton South Ward is now underway.

Wires linked to computer boxes, like this instalation in Devonshire Road, have been set up at 15 different locations in the Ward, with cameras at six locations. The equipment measures the speed of a vehicle and its direction of movement.

The survey has developed from the petition relating to speeding that we presented to Sutton Council last July, signed by 77 residents of Cavendish Road. We successfully pressed for the survey to be extended from Cavendish Road to cover other local roads where speeding is a problem. The study will cover:

Cavendish Road

Christchurch Park

Cedar Road

Cumnor Road

Devonshire Road

Devonshire Avenue.

We will keep residents advised of the outcome.

BID TO OPEN SIDE ENTRANCE TO SUTTON STATION ENTERS NEW PHASE

The latest phase of our long-running campaign to open the side entrance to Sutton station has entered a new phase with the Council’s submission to Transport for London of a bid for funding under the TfL Major Projects scheme.

Sutton station is the 5th busiest in South London, and the 27th busiest in the whole of Greater London, with almost 6 million passenger movements every year. It is one of 18 stations in London identified by TfL as suffering significant congestion problems.

The main elements in the scheme would not only include opening the side entrance but extensive landscaping to improve the appearance of what would in effect be a new entrance from The Quadrant. The main elements include:

* Opening up the side entrance to the station to improve station access and egress, improve the streetscape and improve pedestrian access to the station
 * Public realm and footway improvements in The Quadrant and at the front of the station
 * Bus stop improvements at the front of the station to improve passenger experience
 * “De-cluttering” and harmonisation of street furniture and materials
* Junction and crossing improvements on walking routes to the station
 * Road safety improvements
 * Additional cycle parking and cycle lanes, and
  * Improved street lighting.

Benefits of the scheme will include reduced pedestrian journey times between the station and The Quadrant, the station car park and the Langley Park Road area, as well as reduced congestion within the station main entrance and at the barriers.

 
 
 
 

Opening the side entrance at Sutton Station would cater for the considerable demand for direct access to the station from the Quadrant House office block, which houses Reed Business Information (with approximately 2,000 employees, about one third of whom travel to work by train) and a number of other expanding companies, together with Tudor Court office block, which houses Synergy UK. The new entrance would also serve the large station car park (which Network Rail wish to expand), and the motorcycle and cycle parking areas, which generate considerable demand for access from that side of the station. There is also direct footpath access between The Quadrant and Langley Park Road and surrounding residential streets, well-used by rail passengers. These station users currently have to walk around the side to the front of the station on a convoluted route and negotiate busy footways, bus stops and the station entrance. Most of these passengers are likely to have season tickets, and opening up the side entrance would significantly reduce their journey times and congestion outside and in the entrance hall of the main station entrance.
The Council has been lobbying for the opening up of the side entrance since it was created over ten years ago with a retractable shutter. The entrance is opened up when rail replacement buses are used during engineering work, as the buses stop in The Quadrant. This demonstrates that it is possible to open up and allow passengers to use this entrance in principle. Southern support the opening in principle, subject to funding being available to provide the barriers etc. Network Rail also supports the scheme in principle and has assisted with initial business case work.
We will keep you advised of progress. 

 

DECISION ON KINGS LANE BRIDGE SAFETY PROPOSAL

We have consulted residents on our wish to see action to improve safety for pedestrians using the bridge. Given the difficulties with more radical proposals, the traffic engineers proposed building out the kerb on both sides at the intersection with Hillcroome Road. This would ensure that cars crossing from that end would start their journey across the bridge from a more central position. They would be more visible, earlier, to cars coming from the other end and to pedestrians on the bridge. The road has for some time been marked out to show where the kerb would be built out to. 

In addition, warning signs alerting drivers to the road narrowing and the presence of pedestrians will be upgraded and repositioned to make them more prominent.  

Reaction to the proposal has been generally positive but there is also support for limiting the build out to the left hand side of the road, as you face Kings Lane from Hillcroome Road. A safety study was commissioned and suggested that either option would improve the safety of the bridge.

We have decided to proceed with the reduced scheme, building out on just the left hand side. The improvement will be funded by Transport for London as a small, low-cost but helpful safety measure.

SUCCESSFUL PROGRESS ON PARKING AND TRAFFIC ISSUES

Blackbush Close

Following an important meeting with officers on 5 November, progress is now being made on a number of parking and traffic management schemes we have been progressing on behalf of residents.

BLACKBUSH CLOSE – residents approached us about the shortage of parking spaces on the Blackbush Close / Bonchurch Close estate. Following a meeting with residents last January, we agreed to pursue proposals to remove yellow lines on one side of a stretch of Blackbush Close to provide more parking spaces. This is now likely to go ahead in the New Year.

EASTLEIGH CLOSE – residents have been concerned at the difficulty of parking in their own cul-de-sac, as it is often parked up with the vehicles of people who do not live in the Close. The concerns of residents led to a major survey of views on parking across the whole of the west end of our Ward, in early 2012. The results indicate a desire for parking controls in Eastleigh Close but not elsewhere. It is proposed to hold a final consultation on a proposal to extend the Controlled Parking Zone from its current boundary at the east end of Camborne Road as far as the junction with Stanley Road, taking in Eastleigh Close.

LORRAINE COURT, CAMBORNE ROAD – some residents were concerned at the difficulty of exiting into Camborne Road if cars were parked close to and thus narrowing the entrance. We have obtained agreement for yellow lines to be put across the entrance.

We are also continuing to pursue action on the KINGS LAND BRIDGE safety improvements and speeding in CAVENDISH ROAD.