Scrutiny on Tolworth Broadway
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.