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Scrutiny on Tolworth Broadway

February 18, 2012

See earlier posts on this and Tolworth Broadway page

At  the Scrutiny Meeting on Thursday 16th February, Conservative Councillors debated concerns over the proposed Tolworth ‘Greenway’ Project. Cllrs Richard Hudson, Mike Burden and Karen George called in the decision as it failed to address issues around pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, a lack of sufficient consultation and issues around value for money for the tax payer. Leader of the Conservative Group and Chair of the Scrutiny Panel Cllr Howard Jones stated that every Councillor on both sides of the political spectrum supported the regeneration of Tolworth Broadway. However, the number one priority of the local authority should always be the safety of residents and visitors to our towns.

Cllr Jones said “This was not the right scheme for Tolworth, this is simply a ‘vanity project’ from the LibDems who have given the go ahead to a scheme which has received less than 10% feedback from the consultation, whilst also ignoring numerous safety reports conducted by independent auditors, that stated the risk of cyclists and pedestrians colliding with one another on the ‘Greenway’ is very likely.”

 The LibDem Administration were convinced that the scheme was value for money despite 80% of the £2.6m cost of the project going directly to fund the resin-based gravel material, which will form the ‘Greenway’. It was discovered on the evening that Transport for London refused to take responsibility for the ‘Greenway’ if things were to go wrong. RBK will also have to pick up the bill in maintaining the central reservation and renewing the surface every 15years – potentially costing Kingston residents an additional £1m over that period of time.

Cllr Priyen Patel said It’s ludicrous that we have a scheme which does not deliver what residents and businesses wanted. What is the point of carrying out a consultation if the LibDem Council will simply ignore those views and plough on with a completely different concept? The main improvements residents and local businesses wanted was increased parking and easing of traffic congestion – this scheme does neither.”

After nearly five hours debating it was clear the Lib Dem Councillors were not interested in the concerns of residents in the public gallery or those raised by Conservative Councillors. Cllr George said This misconceived project for a ‘green utopia’ down one of the busiest intersections along the A3 will be a disaster waiting to happen – if this administration has any concern for the safety of the public, I urge you to halt this proposal.”

 However, with the Lib Dems holding a majority on the panel the ‘Greenway’ was voted through with work expected to start imminently in preparation for the Olympics.

A recorded vote on the decision was requested by Cllr Jones and Cllr Cunningham.

Those for: Cllrs Stephen Brister, Alan Dean, Chrissie Hitchcock, Rachel Reid & Marc Woodall.

Those against: Cllrs Howard Jones, David Cunningham, Priyen Patel & Frank Thompson.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Harri Brown permalink
    February 20, 2012 3:40 pm

    I have just read this proposal in full and had to ring my mum at work so we could have a good laugh about it.

    I have grown up in this area for the last 35 years and the barriers are there for a reason – it is a dangerous road at the best of times but particularly in the evening and early morning when there is little or no traffic and people speed off the junction. Putting green resin and some trees in the middle of this road will not change this. Also, making it 20 miles an hour up to the A3 is just going to cause more congestion than we already have in that area during busy periods, just to make it look “pretty” – why? In case any tourists actually come here during the Olympics??!

    I agree that Tolworth Broadway could do with some rejuvenation, but I don’t think spending £2.6 million on the plans above is the answer. I’m not sure why the Lib Dems view this plan as “value for money” either. Where is the value?

    • February 20, 2012 4:07 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Harri. When I represented Surbiton Hill I thought we had just about killed this project at a joint meeting with South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee late in 2009. I was amazed to see it resurrected. Cllrs. Richard Hudson and Mike Burden of Alexandra Ward (both Con) have tried to get the Council to think again (I say ‘again’ with tongue in cheek!) by petitions and the Scrutiny Panel. But the Lib Dem majority is determined to take a tribal, partisan stance on the matter and force it through. This is so even though it doesn’t begin to address the real problems of Tolworth Broadway, which are really caused by the disappearance of some of the shops that used to be there such as Towlers for lighting and Gilbert the jewellers, both of which I used to use and which I miss very much.
      Why? I can suggest three reasons:-
      1. The idea was criticised by Cllrs from 2009 onward who happen to be Tories and are therefore wrong.
      2. On the face of it it looks like a ‘green’ measure and on the side of feet as opposed to wheels.
      3. Lib Dems love things like humps, cushions and things that you can take pictures of to create an illusion of fruitful activity in Focus leaflets.

  2. Alan Slade permalink
    February 20, 2012 6:24 pm

    I have to agree with Paul that the Lib Dems seem to be very tribal about this scheme. This must be the legacy they want to leave for the people of Tolworth. As this scrutiny meeting wasn’t advertised on the Tolworth Greenway website (I feel this was done deliberately so that there would be less opposition on the night) I wasn’t able to attend the meeting but if it was anything like the meeting on 15 December the decision to support the scheme was made by the lib dem Cllrs before the meeting. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. It is in the shape of getting all these useless Cllrs out at the next election. Once the people of Tolworth are caught up in traffic that never moves, I for one will remember the names of the self righteous Cllrs who couldn’t be bothered about the views of the people who have to live with the roundabout every day. I have never come across a bigger bunch of useless “managers”. No wonder Kingston council is in such trouble! My final comment is about funding. Where is the money coming from. My guess is that it is being funded by Tesco’s. I raised this at the 15 December meeting and the Lib Dem Cllrs looked sharply at each other and then denied it (it was like catching a child with its hand in the sweetie jar). Why do you think that they are trying move this scheme forward as fast as possible. I can’t wait for the next election!

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