London Cycling Campaign in Sutton: 10 July 2017 meeting notes
Location: Harvest Home, 27 Beddington Lane, Croydon CR0 4TG
Present: Marcus Howarth, John Kinnear, Charles Martin (Coordinator and Chair), Colin Shirley, Shirley Quemby, Michael To, Neil Webster
Apologies: John Courtman, Stephen Hart, Gary James, Helen John, Ben Rafferty (Treasurer), Maeve Tomlinson
This was the third formal meeting of 2017, following on from the March 2017 meeting. These notes have been prepared by Marcus Howarth and Charles Martin. Notes from all the previous Get Sutton Cycling meetings are available here.
July 2017 meeting overview:
The Beddington North Major Scheme consultation was discussed, and a decision taken on the content of the group’s response.
It was agreed that a group response to the Quietways Highways Survey would be finalised, with reference to Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: what is required to make it a success?
The updated figure for the borough’s cycling mode share of 2% (against a target for 2017 of 2.2%), released at the 22 June 2017 Environment and Neighbourhood Committee as part of the second annual review of the borough’s latest Sustainable Transport Strategy, was noted.
A date was set for the first Get Sutton Cycling AGM (details: Next Meet-up)
1: Welcome and introductions
Beddington was primarily chosen for the venue on this occasion because the main topic of discussion was to be our response to the Beddington North Major Scheme consultation (26 June 2017 to 16 July 2017). Also, during the summer, we like to hold one of our meetings in a neighbouring borough. We visited Merton in 2015, and then Kingston in 2016. The Harvest Home, although not quite Croydon, served as a good proxy, given the Croydon postcode!
Before proceedings got fully underway, everyone took a moment of reflection for Chris Parry, former borough coordinator for many years, who passed away in early June.
2: Update on actions from our last meeting on 22 March 2017
- Tharp Road (Open Street Map): Tharp Road forms part of the London Cycling Network between Wallington and Beddington. Nothing further had been heard in regard to the petition from residents in Tharp Road requesting something be done about traffic here. It is noted that a report, ‘Update on Highways Schemes and Issues’ (available as ‘Highways Update’), had been presented to the Beddington and Wallington Local Committee on 16 May 2017. An extract from the Current Status section of this report notes: “Following the completion of the speed surveys, a workshop was organised with local residents to discuss the implications of the implementing a one-way system. It was agreed by all who attended that this system should be trialled under a one year experimental order. The proposals will be discussed at the planned Local Transport Fund meeting, as there is currently no funding available for this scheme. However, it should be noted that the Local Committee has TfL of £22,218 available in 2017/18”. (The last sentence is as reported, and does not make sense). It is not known whether the fact that Tharp Road is a signed cycle route is to be taken into account during any future discussions. We are aware that a cycle route repeater sign for eastbound traffic (on the north side of Tharp Road at its eastern end) has been removed (intentionally or otherwise, not known)! [The minutes of the Beddington and Wallington Local Committee meeting, 16 May 2017, which had not been seen at the time our July meeting, includes the following Highways Update: “Members highlighted that Tharp Road is also a cycle route and asked whether bikes would still be on the road or whether a different road would be allocated. The Team Leader Strategy and Commissioning Team, Ian Price said that they could look at unmarked contraflows as part of the scheme“. The next Beddington and Wallington Local Committee is tomorrow evening (11 July 2017), so more information is likely to be forthcoming from that.
- Cycling Strategy: The long-awaited first annual review of the nineteen-month old Cycling Strategy was provided as part of the borough’s two-year old Sustainable Transport Strategy second annual review at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee meeting on 22 June 2017. This has reported that modal split for cycling has stayed static (at 2%), just short of the target for 2017 (2.2%). Our ongoing traffic counts would suggest that the proportion of total trips made by bicycle in the borough are actually nearer 1%. See items 5 and 6 below for more on this.
- Ruskin Road (Open Street Map): The parallel pedestrian and cycling crossing has recently been completed, and as far as it goes is not bad at all. Certainly not the problem that the initial plans tended to suggest it could be. The position of the tree is not an issue – either the earlier plans were misleading about the size of the tree, or changes were made. At the moment, there are no signs banning cyclists from cycling along the footpath linking the north side of the crossing with Talbot Road (towards Carshalton High Street). The design of the build-outs, which are not too wide and therefore do not diminish the cycling experience along Ruskin Road, also facilitate ease of movement between the carriageway and the crossing. It is just a pity that the crossing links a gated park on one side of the road with streets used for rat-running on the other. More parallel crossings, that separate people on foot from people on bicycles, are the way forward. (There is more on the Ruskin Road parallel crossing in the graphics to Timely Questions to the Council in March 2017).
- Oaks Track NCN (Open Street Map): Correspondence relating to the barrier on Oaks Track ceased around 8 April 2017 – all too difficult. On 27 March, Tom Brake. MP Carshalton and Wallington, shared an update that he had received from Mr McNulty, Chief Executive, Surrey County Council: “I am pleased to advise that following an inspection the County Council will complete some minor works to improve accessibility round the gate for cyclists. I am unable to provide an exact date but have been informed that the works are likely to take place at the end of this month”. So that is some good news at least – but it is not the answer. For subsequent correspondence, see Footnote .
3: Beddington North TfL Major Scheme consultation
For background, see Opportunity Sutton > Area Regeneration and Renewal > Beddington.
The council has won significant funds, in principle, from Transport for London (TfL) to deliver highways, walking and cycling improvements, as well as significant ‘place-making’ public realm enhancements.
The scheme will focus on Beddington Lane but will be based on a holistic strategy for the Beddington area. The ‘Gateways’ approach will focus the improvements at key points on Beddington and Hilliers Lanes to create distinction between business and residential areas. Subject to securing full funding, the first phase of the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme construction will begin in late 2017. A second phase will begin in 2018-19. [Opportunity Sutton | August 2017]
The Beddington North Major Scheme consultation was the focus of the evening. An initial draft response to the consultation had been prepared ahead of this evening’s meeting, and this formed part of the discussion.
A stakeholder engagement workshop for the scheme had taken place the previous week (4 July 2017), and Colin Quemby and Charles Martin had attended. The event had provided an opportunity to learn more about the proposal to construct a wide, two-way, cycle-path and footway adjacent to, but separate from, the carriageway on Beddington Lane. Extensive plans of the path, from the Beddington Tram Stop in the north to Beddington Village in the south, had been provided by Kevin Williams (Sutton Council, Highways and Transport). Kevin helpfully explained the proposals in great detail, and was supportive of our comments and suggestions. We emphasised that the design for the major intersection at Marlowe Way, by Asda, was not supported as it currently stands. The cycle path needed to be more directly aligned with the proposed parallel crossing to minimise deviation from the desire line (and avoid the necessity to make ninety degree turns), even though this would displace some existing parking spaces. There was also a requirement for an additional cycle path to link the Beddington Lane cycle path with the store (and for new robust cycle parking adjacent to the store). Much of the demand placed on the Beddington Lane/Marlowe Way junction would be eliminated if Marlowe Way was closed to through general motor traffic (which, in theory, it is supposed to be).
What did we learn, what was confirmed, at the engagement event?
The footway will be separate from the cycleway. The path will, for most of its length, be five metres wide (three meters for cycling, two metres for walking, with a line delineating the two). In a few places, the width of the path will narrow to 4.5 or 4 metres due to the location of some mature trees. There will be a short section of shared use just to the north of the proposed signalised parallel crossing by Therapia Lane (due to constraints on space – notably an electricity sub-station, but also properties on the east side (where there is future potential because the council may be able to obtain some of the adjacent land at a later date). The only other tricky section for getting the full five-metre width will be at the southern end just north of Beddington Village where the pavement was widened a few years ago for shared-use. This will depend on the co-operation of land owners (but the council has not ruled out compulsory purchase if necessary). Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) is to be used for the surface (to include white stone to improve appearance). At minor intersections the cycle path is to have priority over the roads. Some existing entrances to industrial sites are to be narrowed too.
It has subsequently been noted that the presentation given at the stakeholder engagement event (or a variation on it) by Holly Lewis, Consultant ‘We Made That’, with Mandar Puranik, Area Renewal and Regeneration Programme Manager (Sutton Council), was also provided at the Beddington and Wallington Local Committee meeting on 11 July 2017 (see Item 10 ‘Beddington North TfL Major Scheme’).
ACTION: CM to finalise response a group response to the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme consultation, and for this to include an executive summary.
Update: Our group response was submitted on 16 July, and can be read this as part of our post Beddington North TfL Major Scheme (23 July 2017).
4: Quietways Highways Survey
There was some news to report on the proposed Colliers Wood to Sutton Quietway!
In mid-June 2017, Sutton Council had sent a letter to residents of Grennell Road, Elgin Road, Benhill Wood Road, and the surrounding area, to tell them about the council’s proposals, in partnership with Transport for London and Sustrans, to develop a ‘quietway’ in their area. The letter, which was set in the context of the opportunity afforded from potential Healthy Streets funding, seeked the views of residents to help develop the proposals. The dates of three public drop-in sessions were provided, along with a link to an online Quietways Highways Survey which is open until 19 July 2017. (Note this has subsequently been extended into August).
Our thoughts on the Quietway had been set out in Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: what is required to make it a success? (June 2016). Nevertheless, it was agreed to submit a response of behalf of the group in order to reinforce our recommendations (and to show our thanks that one of the essential prerequsities for success (engagement with residents, schools and businesses over a wide neighbourhood area) had been met).
ACTION: Everyone encouraged to complete the online survey, and CM to finalise a response to the consultation.
Update: Our group response was submitted on 19 July 2017, and can be read as part of the post Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: the conversation begins (27 August 2017).
5: Sustainable Transport Strategy update
The Sustainable Transport Strategy (LB Sutton, June 2015) can be downloaded from the council’s website here, or from our Publications page here. The strategy includes targets to increase cycling mode share from a baseline of 1% (2009/10-2011/12 average) to 2.2% (2017) and 4% (2025). It should be noted that the 2% target for 2017 had been set in about 2013, and the 4% target for 2025 had been referenced in Sutton Transport Plan (July 2011).
The council’s vision for cycling is to create a cycle-friendly borough where cycling becomes the preferred mode of choice for an increasing proportion of journeys. In order to encourage more people to cycle and to make cycling safer, the council will implement high quality cycle routes and measures, using best practice designs based on the latest London Cycling Design Standards. (Sustainable Transport Strategy, LB Sutton, June 2015)
An update on Sutton’s Sustainable Transport Strategy, which includes targets for cycling mode share, was presented to the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee on 22 June 2017. (See agenda item 6 on the E&N Committee agenda and draft minutes page for 22 June). The main report, titled ‘Update on Sustainable Transport Strategy’ (confusingly shown as ‘Sustainable Transport Strategy’ on the E&N Committee page), was presented, along with three appendices. All four documents are available from the links below:
Appendix C, the Summary of Sustainable Transport Strategy Targets, reports an updated figure for the mode share of cycling as 2% (based on the 2013/14 – 2015/16 average), against the 2017 target of 2.2%. Consequently, the short term target, to increase cycling mode share from a baseline of 1% (2009/10 – 2011/12 average) to 2.2% by 2017 has not been met. It is also noted that the 2% figure for cycling mode share is the same as that reported in 2016 (based on the 2012/13 – 2013/14 average).
Note that there is a typing error in the ‘Update on Sustainable Transport Strategy’ report. The first sentence in paragraph 5.2 should read: “In terms of modal share (T1) the proportion of people using public transport or cycling has remained static at 16% and 2% respectively“.
6: Cycling Strategy update
The long-awaited first annual update of the borough’s Cycling Strategy has been released. This appeared, essentially, as Appendix B to the ‘Update on Sustainable Transport Strategy’ report (yes, the Sustainable Transport Strategy (item 5 above) – all a little confusing these strategies), presented to the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee on 22 June 2017 (item 6). The six pages of the report are shown below (and, of course, can be downloaded as the aforementioned Appendix B) …
The printed minutes to the meeting, also available from the E&N Committee agenda and draft minutes page for 22 June, do not add very much. The minutes note the error in the report: “The first line of paragraph 5.2 of the report was corrected so that the word order of public transport and cycling was interchanged to show cycling at 2% and public transport at 16%”. (Incidentally, this has not been corrected at time of writing). Beddington Lane gets a mention (of course, it is a hot topic at this moment in time), noting “that a separate off road cycleway was being created”. The “Mayor’s Healthy Streets policy” which seeks “to look at the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users together”, is also acknowledged.
But there is nothing in the printed minutes to suggest there was a discussion as to why the 2.2% target for cycling was not achieved (although there is absolutely no surprise from us that it wasn’t – and our recent traffic counts tend to indicate that the actual figure for cycling mode share is probably nearer 1%).
The minutes note, in conclusion to the item on the Sustainable Transport Strategy, it was resolved that….
- The progress on the implementation of sustainable transport measures within the Sustainable Transport Strategy (STS) be noted.
- Progress be reviewed in achieving targets set out in the STS and the monitoring of the targets on an annual basis be agreed.
- Progress in implementing the cycle network and other initiatives as set out in the Borough’s Cycling Strategy be noted.
…. so, for all intents and purposes, very much business as usual.
7: The constitution of Get Sutton Cycling, officers, management committee, AGM
At a meeting of Get Sutton Cycling’s ‘acting committee’, held on 21 June, there was yet again more discussion on getting wider involvement with the group. The forthcoming AGM would be the opportunity for people to put themselves forward as ‘officers’ of the group – see Our Constitution for more details. Roles will include Coordinator (this could could be shared), Secretary, Treasurer, and Chair. Ideally, as discussed at the March 2017 meeting, it would be good to have a Media Officer too. Other roles to be considered could include Newsletter Editor (again, could be shared, or a with a different sub-editor for each edition), Rides Coordinator, Web Developer. It would also be good to have at least one point of contact in each of the six local committee ares across the borough.
At a recent Croydon Cyclists meeting, held on 12 June 2017, CM had suggested the idea of Croydon and Sutton LCC borough groups sharing an event to hold their respective AGMs. A shared venue could held keep the costs down, and sharing the organisation of the event could make things more straightforward for all concerned. Whilst recognising the need to keep the core business of the AGM separate for both groups, a larger shared event could be more appealing especially if this included a guest speaker. Croydon Cyclists were quite keen on the idea. What does the Sutton group think?
The general consensus in Sutton was that it would be preferable to have a Sutton group meeting in the borough, because people may not be prepared to travel to Croydon. a central Sutton venue would be the best option.
A provisional date for our first AGM was set for Wednesday 27 September 2017. Note that, due to availability of the chosen venue, this has subsequently been changed to Thursday 28 September 2017. Possible venues for the AGM were discussed, along with the possibility of inviting a guest speaker
ACTION: JK and CM to investigate and contact several venues to ask about availability and pricing for our AGM. ALL to consider being part of the committee.
Update: The chosen venue is Trinity Church Halls, the Minor Hall on the ground floor, and this has been booked for Thursday, 28 September 2017.
ACTION: CM to invite people to make a short presentation at our AGM event.
Update: Several people have been contacted. Unfortunately (so far), none can make it! This is, in part, because on 28 September a major conference, exhibition and awards ceremony (Healthy Streets 2017) is taking place. Bad planning on our part! However, many people have indicated that would be happy to come to one of our meetings at another time – possibly sooner to the Croydon Cyclists AGM (date TBC).
8: RideLondon FreeCycle 29 July 2017
This major annual cycling event will soon be upon us. Do we have the capacity to organise a led feeder ride from Sutton to central London this year? The last time we did this as a group was in 2014. At our ‘acting committee’ meeting on 21 June we had decided that we did not have the capacity for this. CM had advised LCC about this on 25 June, and on 5 July confirmation had been received that a Ride Leader had been found. At the very least, the start of the feeder ride would be an opportunity to publicise the group and the London Cycling Campaign.
ACTION: CM to liaise with LCC and the Ride Leader, and offer support and assistance.
Update: CM joined the FreeCycle feeder ride on 29 July, to assist Ride Leader Jess and marshals Taf and Roy. Around thirty people took part in the ride from Sutton. See RideLondon FreeCycle 2017 for photos.
9: Bute Road
See Bute Road, the A232 and how to spend some money for background of this LIP funded scheme at Bute Road (by Croydon Road, A232). Essentially…
- There was concern that no infrastructure was planned (just “blue signs” and conversion to a shared footway), and that lack of funding was the reason for this.
- Chris Rutland sent his thoughts on possible designs for a crossing to Cllr manuel Abellan on 7 April 2017.
- JK and CM had met with Cllr. Manuel Abellan on 16 June 2017 at Bute Road. Manuel had been extremely positive. It was hoped that any crossing of Croydon Road provided here would be future-proofed to include cycle lanes on both sides of Croydon Road.
- CM had carried out a traffic count and observation at Bute Road on 23 May 2017. Around 200 motor vehicles used Bute Road during one early morning peak hour (07:55 to 08:55), with around 1,650 vehicles on Croydon Road.
10: LCC Local Groups Forum 27 June 2017
CM had attended the LCC Local Groups Forum held on 27 June 2017. Topics for discussion had included:
- Update on FreeCycle (see item 8 above)
- Clocs – Construction Logistics and Community Safety, an industry led safety measure. LCC’s aim was to get all council’s to sign up to be Clocs champions (see Camden CLOCS up another first). Being a Clocs champion is not difficult, requiring time but not money. Groups were being asked when would be good timing for them to get involved. Consensus from us was that this would be best after summer.
- Marketing materials and running an event. A reminder that there are lots of materials to take advantage and use if running an event this summer (including a new cargo bike).
- Bike shops. If you can help distribute posters to local bike shops that provide LCC discounts, please let LCC know. Do any Sutton bike shops provide a discount to LCC members?
- Emails – training and guidance on new system (no longer Engaging Networks) to be given from August.
- Women and cycling update – how to run an inclusive ride? Presentation from Bromley Cyclists. Bromley Cyclists get at least 50% women on each of their rides!
- Mayor’s Transport Strategy – released on 21 June (see Mayoral Transport Strategy 2017, with a long-term vision and Mayor launches new Transport Strategy – LCC’s initial take). Potentially a positive step change for London. Consultation runs until 2 October 2017, with the final version published in spring 2018.
- Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) – heralded as the most important data to be released from TfL for years. The SCA is a big map showing where there is high potential for cycling across London. See Strategic Cycling Analysis – the future of London cycling, mapped.
- Liveable Neighbourhood update. Thanks were given to all the groups that had submitted a bid to LCC asking for support to help put together a bid for a Liveable Neighbourhood project in their borough. (Sutton had not done so, see the discussion on this in the Notes from our March 2017 meeting, item 3). At least ten groups had submitted an assessment, and the three groups selected for help with this would be shared on 7 July. (This was subsequent announced, and the groups LCC will be working closely with on their respective Liveable Neighbourhood campaigns are Richmond, Ealing and Tower Hamlets).
- Cycle Forum: The next Cycle Forum had originally been set for 11 July, but is now to be rescheduled for late July or early August when more known on Quietway consultation. Update (13 July): The Cycle Forum subsequently rescheduled to 27 July 2017, with a separate meeting to discuss the ‘Quietway’ with Sustrans a month later on 24 August. ACTION: JK/CM to provide notes to both meetings in due course.
- Bikehangars: Three locations had been suggested for cycle storage facilities. Cambourne road, Grove Road, Landseer Road. Around 9 June 2017 letters were sent to residents in Grove Road and Landseer Road to see whether there was sufficient demand and asking for comments by 23 June. It is know that residents in Grove Road have rejected the idea. A letter sent to consultees on or around 6 July 2017, noted: “…the majority or residents have been against its installation”. Results for Cambourne and Landseer awaited. Update (21 July 2017): Landseer Road residents also reject the idea. The Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy includes this image of a ‘healthy street’ – and guess what? Bikehangars are included.
- Questions to Council: In early March 2017 Cllr Neil Garratt submitted three further cycling related questions to the council. The responses to these were received towards the end of March, and can be read at Timely questions to the Council in March 2017. The Roads Task Force, Technical Note 4 (2012), shows the cycling mode share of travel to work by borough (2001, 2011 ONS)
- British Cycling’s Turning the Corner Campaign. Ben R had contacted Paul Scully, MP Sutton and Cheam, about the campaign. Here is Paul’s reply:
I have been assured that Ministers remain fully committed to creating a safe environment for all road users, and in particular vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Sections 204 – 225 of the Highway Code aims to educate and remind drivers of the needs of more vulnerable road users, including both cyclists and pedestrians. A revised Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) came into force in April 2016, which contains a number of measures designed to improve the safety of cyclists on the road, including low level cycle signals, a new type of crossing and changes to advanced stop lines. TSRGD also includes changes that make it easier for local authorities to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential areas. The Department for Transport is also working on wider cyclist safety in other ways, including changes to vehicle design, publicity, campaigns, as well as mandatory training for HGV drivers and optional training for cyclists. I understand that the Department for Transport is looking at the issues raised in the Turning the Corner campaign, and that they are currently determining the best way forward.Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Paul Scully, MP
- Local Plan: Sutton Council submitted its Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for independent examination on 12 April 2017.
- Air Quality: A resident asked members of the St Helier, The Wrythe and Wandle Valley local committee four questions pertaining to air quality at their meeting on 27 April 2017 (‘Appendix to the minutes’, item 61 “). Did he receive full answers though?
- General Election 2017: Ahead of last month’s General Election, held on 8 June 2017, (a snap election, called on 19 April) the LCC asked members to send an email to their Prospective Parliamentary Candidates – General Election: what can MPS do for cycling in London?
- Bank Junction (Open Street Map): motor traffic free trial has begun, and so far so good.
- Westmead Road / Ringstead Road junction (Open Street Map): work begins on installing roundabout here in early June.
- Westmead Road / Lower Road / Benhill Road / St Barnabas Road junction (Open Street Map): work to begin shortly on installation of roundabout.
- 20 mph: On 30 June, had received notification of a consultation letter sent to residents ‘Proposed 20mph zone and other measures in the vicinity of Cheam Common Infants and Junior School’ (Open Street Map). Several other areas are being, or soon will be, consulted on 20 mph, including Church Hill Road and surrounding streets (Open Street Map).
- Dr Bike: For details of Sutton Council’s summer 2017 Dr Bike and police security marking sessions, see their Bike Maintenance page.
- Network audits and traffic counts Traffic counts are currently being undertaken at various locations during peak periods ahead of the summer holiday season. The work is being carried out to try and provide an indication of total traffic volumes and percentage of cycle mode share (given the declaration by the council that cycling accounts for 2% of trips in the borough – see item 5 ‘Sustainable Transport Strategy’ update above). If anyone has suggests for locations of future counts, please get in touch.
- Blog posts: Five items have been published since the March 2017 meeting: The last word on Green Wrythe Lane? (7 April); Notes from our March 2017 meeting (20 April); Glancing back to 2012, looking forward to 2018 (31 May); Chris Parry (8 June); Timely questions to the Council in March 2017 (6 March). A few other posts have been updated. Cycle Funding 2016/2017 and Cycle Funding 2017/2018 are still outstanding (and may remain that way – our reports on the Cycle Forum meetings tend now to cover LIP schemes and their projected costs).
- Quarterly newsletter: The group’s June 2017 borough news and update was submitted to LCC for publication with the summer edition of London Cyclist on 29 June. This was, unfortunately, too late for inclusion with the July magazine, but the newsletter can be downloaded from our Newsletters page or through the LCC’s Local Group News page. The deadline for the next edition (September 2017) is Tuesday, 29 August. Suggestions and contributions welcome.
12: Date of next meeting
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 to include our AGM. NOTE: due to unavailability of the chosen venue on this date, this has subsequently been changed to Thursday 28 September 2017. Details on the Next meet-up page.
The Harvest Home made us very welcome this evening, and we are sure to return at some point (especially when the Beddington North TfL major Scheme is complete)!
 More on the Oaks Track barrier saga
To: Mark Callaghan, Route Manager, Sustrans
Copied to: Lucie Kinchin (Sustrans), Tom Brake, Manuel Abellan, Simon Munk, Chris Rutland
2 April 2017
Further to my email of 7 March (part of the thread on issues relating to the Oaks Track (NCN route 20, Avenue Verte London to Paris, LB Sutton, Carshalton South and Clockhouse Ward)), I am writing again to provide a further update, and request that a meeting be set-up between all interested parties. This email is being copied to Tom Brake (MP Carshalton and Wallington), Cllr. Manuel Abellan (Councillor for Beddington South Ward, LB Sutton Cycling Champion) and Simon Munk (Infrastructure Campaigner, London Cycling Campaign). Both Tom and Manuel have been helpful (as have you and Lucie) in researching the background to land ownership here, following the concerns raised by constituent Chris Rutland in 2016 regarding the barrier (or gate) and the implications this has on full, inclusive, access along this important route. Simon is being copied in to make him aware of the topic.
There has been much correspondence between Tom and Mr McNulty, Chief Executive at Surrey County Council, over the last few weeks regarding the Oaks Track gate/barrier on the Little Woodcote Estate (situated within the London Borough of Sutton, but close to the border with Surrey). As you are probably aware, it transpires that Surrey County Council still owns many of the smallholdings on the Little Woodcote Estate and the estate tracks that cross the smallholdings. Mr McNulty recognises that the barrier has been an extremely contentious local issue for many years, and that the gate was originally installed in order to prevent the estate being used as a “rat run”. Preventing “rat runs” is a great idea, and one the LCC (and I am sure Sustrans too) would like to see replicated extensively elsewhere. Except, of course, that any access control feature needs to facilitate egress for those on foot, and on all forms of bicycles, and (particularly here) on horseback. In this instance at Oaks Track, a simple bollard rather than a gate would enable this). Mr McNulty has advised that the owner of the neighbouring house currently has the key to the gate and, apparently, has resisted any change. Mr McNulty has said that it would be easier in the short term to order some stone to be laid to ensure a better surface around the side of the gate, rather than carry out works to the barrier itself which would require extensive consultation. He recently advised Tom that some minor works to improve accessibility round the gate for cyclists would be carried out towards the end of March (i.e. about now).
Although this is all a step in the right direction, the minor works that Mr McNulty refers to are, of course, just that – minor. My view is that unless people actually get together and sit around the table to discuss how to resolve the issues that will make Oaks Track fully accessible and user-friendly, then nothing will change. The minor works scenario is really only kicking the issue into the long grass, and leaving it for someone else to raise in the future (and for the whole process to be laboriously looked at again). Consequently, I have suggested to Tom that a meeting be arranged between Surrey County Council and the residents of Oaks Track to discuss the options to make Oaks Track a great place for cycling and walking (i.e. have that extensive consulta:on that Mr McNulty referred to). In the process, residents can be reassured that the removal of the speed humps and the gate, to be replaced perhaps with a bollard, will not bring the world to an end. Given that Oaks Track forms part of the National Cycle Network, I believe that Sustrans is in a much better position to arrange such a meeting than the London Cycling Campaign, and I hope you agree. I am sure that Tom can provide Mr McNulty’s contact details for you.
In closing, let’s just consider the objectives or outcomes here. Ideally, an agreement will be reached through an understanding of the issues on all sides. The gate/barrier and humps will be removed and, if deemed necessary, a bollard installed instead. (By the way, the gate looks as though it has not be opened for years – indicating that vehicular access has simply not been required. Perhaps, therefore, a small narrowing of the track here is all that is necessary to deter rat-running). If, on the other hand, an agreement to remove/replace the gate and humps cannot be reached, it would be extremely useful to have a wriIen statement detailing the reasons for this (to include contributions from all par:es). Such a statement would, at the very least, help to put the issue to rest (and act as a point of reference for the inevitable future discussions on the subject). Furthermore, a full understanding of the reasons why the gate and speed humps have to remain could help to inform the debate elsewhere, in the context of how to enable sustainable modes of transport in other parts of London. To paraphrase the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, London is to be a byword for cycling. I am sure we can all agree that such a great aspiration is more likely to be realised if everyone gets together and talks through their concerns.
Thanks for your time with this Mark, and if I can help further please let me know.
LCC borough coordinator Sutton
To: Charles Martin
Copied to: Lucie Kinchin, Tom Brake, Manuel Abellan, Simon Munk, Chris Rutland
3 April 2017
Thanks for your email. While I’d like to meet your request, the fact remains that as landowner only Surrey CC can make this decision, and that as local stakeholders, only you can give Surrey CC the impetus it requires to make better decisions for all. As I’m unclear how much consideration Surrey CC has given to the full range of feasible design options for controlling access here, I am taking the liberty of referring you to Sustrans’ published guidance below, should this create a way forward in your future discussions with Surrey CC and local stakeholders:
A Guide to Controlling Access on Paths (Sustrans, January 2012)
I am sorry that I cannot meet your request but I believe that my suggestion this is likely to be the most effective course of action.
Mark Callaghan, Route Manager Sustrans
8 April 2017
Thank you for including me in your email exchange with Sustrans.
As a regular cyclist along that route I do think that at this stage these works are the most cost effective and practical solution to improve the experience for cyclists so I am keen to wait until the works are carried out.
Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington