On Wednesday night, my colleagues and I heard Ken Andrew speak at the Carshalton & Clockhouse Local Committee about the issues around the proposed changes to Westmead Road. He presented a petition which attracted significant support from residents that would be most affected by the proposals. I was pleased to see a good number of residents at the meeting to tell us their views.
At the meeting, Ken articulated concerns about the changes to the Hail and Ride bus service and the introduction of speed humps. No-one could disagree with making our roads safer – hence my support for the introduction of the two mini-roundabouts and other limited changes as called for in the petition – but the rest of the scheme appears to address a problem that is not there. Lower Road has an accident record that requires some action. However the plan affects the entire length of Westmead Road and unduly affects bus users and drivers.
As previously reported, when this scheme was first presented to me and Eric, we both queried why speed humps remained in the proposal after being clearly rejected in the consultation. We were told that residents only objected to humps because of possible loss of on-street parking and since no places would be lost, there was no reason to remove them from the scheme. This explanation was derived from the comments that a few residents had written. We were not satisfied with this as we believed that there were insufficient comments to jump to this conclusion and so demanded that speed humps were removed from the design.
With many of these schemes council officers come under pressure to push through plans in fear of losing the funding at the end of the financial year. The choice that we had on Wednesday was described as “take it or leave it”. Councillors unanimously voted to leave it, rejecting the proposal. It is unfortunate that we did not have the option to pick and choose the parts of the scheme that residents believed would have most benefit to them, due to the cumbersome bureaucracy of Transport for London.
Ken Andrew and local resident Paul Kelly did a great job in organising the petition and I was pleased to see how well supported it was. We often take this Council to task for not seeking and responding to residents’ opinions and I am pleased that in this instance, residents have grouped together effectively to ensure that their voice is heard. Eric and I will continue to do our utmost to reflect your views and concerns about Carshalton.