Sutton and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018

How would a Conservative, Green, Labour or Liberal Democrat controlled council in the London Borough of Sutton, in 2018, rise to the transport challenges as outlined in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy? To what degree would each party aspire to help the Mayor of London deliver active, efficient and sustainable transport choices for Sutton’s residents in the years ahead?

On 4 March 2018, we wrote to the four main parties in Sutton to try and find out [1]. Here we present the responses, in the order they were received.

This post will be updated as, when, and if, further contributions are received.

SuttonAndTheMayorsTransportStrategy_v1A_crop

Note: The Mayor’s Transport Strategy was published on 13 March 2018. Sutton’s Cycling Strategy (November 2015) is available on the council’s website here, along with Sutton’s Sustainable Transport Strategy (June 2015) here.


Sutton Liberal Democrats


The following response, provided by Councillor Manuel Abellan (Beddington South; Sutton Council’s Cycling Champion; Vice-chair Environment and Neighbourhood Committee), was received on 12 April 2018 (and published here on 17 April 2018)

Liberal Democrats have long supported moves to help residents and visitors in Sutton make more journeys by foot, cycle and public transport. We believe that together they can offer real benefits to local air quality, reduce the impact of climate change, improve public health and productivity, as well as reduce travel costs, congestion and traffic noise around the borough.

Since taking control of the Council, Liberal Democrats have a long record of innovation and action on encouraging more sustainable travel, but we recognise that there is far more to do. Over 50% of car journeys in Sutton are less than 3 miles and car ownership is above the outer London average, partly because Sutton is one of just three London boroughs with no tube or TfL Overground stations and bus service provision varies hugely across the borough. 80% of the borough’s residents live in areas with poor access to public transport networks. Despite this, around 46% of all trips in the borough are by foot, cycle or public transport. The Council’s recently adopted Local Plan sets out the planning strategy and policies for the borough until 2031 and includes a target for Sutton to increase this to 56% within the next five years.

Liberal Democrat plans to increase the number of people using bikes in Sutton are set out in the Council’s Cycling Strategy. This commits the Council to:

  • make Sutton a more attractive place and safer place for cycling and create a high-quality cycle network.
  • encourage a shift from cars to cycling for shorter journeys.
  • encourage safe and considerate behaviour by all road users.
  • create a cycling culture by promoting cycling to a wider range of people.
  • actively promote cycling within the Council’s Sustainable Transport Strategy.

The Council’s Sustainable Transport Strategy also identifies way to tackle the high levels of car ownership and dependency, congestion, parking pressures and the relatively low levels of other transport modes in Sutton despite many journeys being short. You will also be aware that all schools and major workplaces in Sutton are required by the Council to have Travel Plans in place to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use. Liberal Democrats have also committed to becoming a ‘one planet borough’ by 2025 based on five themes. The Cutting Carbon Emissions theme includes sustainable transport targets, such as increasing the percentage of Council staff and school pupils commuting by sustainable transport. Increasing levels of cycling in the borough will also contribute substantially towards the One Planet Sutton sustainable transport targets.

The Council is also working in partnership with Transport for London on several schemes to improve cycling, walking and public transport in Sutton, including:

Quietway schemes– two routes (one from Worcester Park to Croydon and the other from Sutton to Morden) are currently being worked on to determine the best routes.

Mini Holland scheme– as Sutton now shares its Highways and Transport Services Team with the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, we will be learning from Kingston’s experience of this TfL-funded cycling project to see if it could be applied anywhere in Sutton.

Suburban train services– Liberal Democrats are clear that the general standard of service provided by operator Southern Trains is unacceptably poor and we support the Mayor of London’s call for all suburban rail services to be managed directly by TfL.  We are also seeking Overground-style services for the Hackbridge Victoria /Thameslink lines. Liberal Democrats and the Council have also long called for the extension of the London Overground network from West Croydon to Sutton to improve connections and frequencies to both central and other parts of outer London.

London Cancer Hub– this major regeneration project provides a real opportunity for the Council to campaign for improved local bus services for employees, students at the new school and residents, as well as infrastructure improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

Tramlink extension– the Council and Liberal Democrats have long supported proposals for a new branch of the London Tramlink from Morden Road to Sutton Town Centre and are now calling for a future extension to serve the London Cancer Hub in Belmont.

Crossrail 2 – Liberal Democrats support plans for a new Crossrail line with a stop at Worcester Park station on the Sutton boundary.  Liberal Democrats will continue to push for outer London boroughs to benefit from any such scheme and for funding to make it happen.

Beddington Lane scheme – work is currently underway on a major improvement scheme in Beddington Lane and Hilliers Lane to improve the travel experience for pedestrians and cyclists.  The Council has secured £815,000 funding from TfL with additional funding of over £1 million from the Council.  The scheme will see an enhanced pedestrian and new cycle route run the entire length of Beddington Lane, a new roundabout at the Beddington Lane/Asda junction, as well as new pedestrian and cycle crossings.  There will also be improved management of heavy goods vehicles to improve road safety in the area.

The Liberal Democrat administration has also committed in the recently adopted Local Plan to other schemes which could further expand the borough’s transport infrastructure:

  • Sutton Town Centre: transform the existing gyratory system to make the roads less traffic-dominated and more pedestrian- and cycle-friendly.
  • North Cheam/Worcester Park: resolve traffic flow issues on the corridor from North Cheam to the A3 Roundabout to improve traffic flow, bus priority and air quality.

In addition to these measures, the Council is looking at how it can help reduce non-essential vehicle journeys and encourage the switch to less polluting transport modes. The Council has recently started a phased parking review and one of the aims is to reduce commuter parking/car journeys in the borough through a range of measures. Its aim is to reduce and control parking around attractors and generators, such as rail and bus stations, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and new developments. Low pollution/electric vehicles will receive preferential rates for parking permits based on their DVLA class. The Council has also recently adopted its first-ever Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle strategy to explore how the borough can support the projected rise in electric vehicles locally. The strategy will also explore a Sutton electric bike scheme. Electric cycles will help in the hillier parts of the borough which may currently act as a disincentive to riding a bike.

The new Community Infrastructure Levy will also generate funding specifically for the provision of infrastructure necessary to support new development across Sutton, such as integrated transport projects.  Section 106 agreements with planning applicants will continue to fund public realm improvements and sustainable transport improvements, including travel plans and car clubs.  Liberal Democrats are also watching closely school-run car restrictions currently being piloted by some London councils.  Croydon and Hackney have installed temporary restrictions on roads around schools to reduce the number of vehicles dropping off and collecting children in the morning and afternoon.  Officers in the Joint Highways service are looking at the possibility of a trial in Sutton around one primary school.

I hope all these measures show how seriously Liberal Democrats in Sutton take improving the borough’s transport networks and making walking and cycling more attractive, safer and easier despite huge reductions in the Council’s budget due central government funding cuts.  In addition, the Government does not give London councils any of its national pothole budget – only councils outside London benefit from this additional funding while Sutton has to use its own funds to repair potholes and pavements.  Liberal Democrats therefore support calls for the money London’s drivers pay to the DVLA in car tax to be repatriated to TfL to pay for street improvements in the capital, including Sutton.

However, while we work in partnership with Transport for London on many major projects as set out above, our task is being made increasingly harder by the fact that Sutton relies almost entirely on its annual grant from TfL for transport improvements in the borough.  The Government has this year alone reduced TfL’s funding by £700 million.  This cut will have a direct impact on planned improvements in Sutton and the Mayor has already decided to reduce funding to all London councils for planned transport schemes through its Local Implementation Plans (LIP) this financial year and there will be no funding at all in the next two years.  The Council will only receive £100,000 from TfL for the whole borough annually to be split between the borough’s six Local Committee areas for them to agree local schemes.  As an outer London council, we also have concerns that much of TfL’s funding is concentrated on boroughs where public transport, cycling and walking services are already good and TfL’s funding formula is predicated on this, rather than on improving access in less well-served boroughs.  TfL’s new Healthy Street Fund programme is an example: so far only seven inner London boroughs have been awarded funding from what is a competitive bidding process and none were in south London.  It is focused on integrating pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles at large roundabouts and Sutton has only one at Rosehill.  There is also no longer a single cycling strategy in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.  Unless this financial situation changes, it will be very difficult to deliver game-changing schemes in Sutton.



Sutton Labour Party


The following response, on behalf of the Sutton and Cheam Labour Party, was received from Christopher Woolmer (prospective councillor for the Sutton West ward) on 19 April 2018 (and published here on 20 April 2018).

The Labour party, including it’s leader, takes cycling seriously.

Cycling is an essential part of the equation when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. It is also part of the equation when it comes to reducing traffic pollution, especially the mix of PM10, PM 2.5 and NOx emissions which are estimated to kill some 40,000 people in the UK every year.

Nationally our policy is to spend £10 per head on cycling and walking, and we back calls for a new Clean Air Act.

On a regional level we would work with the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. I, if elected, would support “Space for Cycling”, which involves supporting 6 general principles such as, lowering speed limits (20mph residential speed limits are in the local Labour Manifesto), removing through traffic on minor/residential streets, installing physically protected space for cycling on main roads, opening up green areas for cycling, creating safe cycling routes to schools, and improving town centres to make them easier to visit by bike.

On a local level we are as a party committed to working with cycling groups (such as “Get Sutton Cycling” and Sustrans for example) to improve the local cycling infrastructure and cycle path network, including quiet and safe routes (such as the two “Quietway Schemes” being planned) to encourage increased cycling, and as part of transport strategy to reduce the over reliance on the car. We would like to see the “Cycle Sharing Scheme” extended to Sutton. Many car journeys are under 3 miles, and so there is much potential for increasing the percentage of cycle journeys if the environment was more conducive.

We also have an integrated approach to reducing pollution, which includes, as well as encouraging cycling, walking, public transport and electric cars. We also have a policy of claiming all the available government grants, something which cannot be said of the LibDems who were recently caught out by a Labour candidate as being unaware of the £4.5 million OLEV fund for electric car charging points, as reported in Inside Croydon.

In terms of public transport, we would work with the Mayor to develop a proper transport plan, lobby for a black taxi rank at Wallington Station, extend the night bus from Morden to Wallington, have an X26 bus stop for Beddington Village, and have a Tramlink extension to Sutton Town Centre as part of wider planned extension of the network as far as the proposed Cancer Hub in Belmont. We would also work with the Mayor to ensure that Worcester Park Station benefits from the Crossrail 2 project.



Sutton Conservatives


Response awaited



Sutton Green Party


Response awaited


Footnote

[1] Correspondence sent to Sutton Borough Conservatives (info@suttonconservatives.org.uk), Sutton Labour (via website contact form), Sutton Green Party (suttongreens@virginmedia.com) and Sutton Liberal Democrats (info@suttonlibdems.org.uk):

Mayor’s Transport Strategy: how will the <name of party> in Sutton help deliver?

4 March 2018

Dear <name of party>,

I am writing on behalf of Get Sutton Cycling, the borough group of the London Cycling Campaign.

On 28 February, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, presented his Transport Strategy to the London Assembly for consideration before final publication in the coming weeks. The Strategy aims to change the way people choose to travel so that, by 2041, 80 per cent of all Londoners’ trips will be made on foot, by cycle or by public transport.

How would the <name of party> party in Sutton help the mayor deliver on this target (and others within the strategy) if it were to win/retain control of the council on 3 May?

We would welcome your views. We will be writing to the other main parties in Sutton too, and will send our members and supporters in the London Borough of Sutton a summary of the views that each party sends us.

Thank you for your time with this.

Regards,

Charles Martin
LCC borough coordinator in Sutton
getsuttoncycling.org.uk

Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/transport/our-vision-transport/mayors-transport-strategy-2018

Mayor’s Transport Strategy: how will the <name of party> in Sutton help deliver?

20 March 2018

Dear <name of party>,

As coordinator of Get Sutton Cycling – the London Cycling Campaign in Sutton, I emailed you on 4 March about the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy and the forthcoming local election.

As you know, this Strategy (the final version of which was published yesterday, 19 March) aims to change the way people choose to travel so that, by 2041, 80 per cent of all Londoners’ trips will be made on foot, by cycle or by public transport.

In my email I asked one specific question: how would the <name of party> in Sutton help the Mayor deliver on this target if it were to retain control of the Council on 3 May?

The members of our group are people who live in Sutton and use bikes to satisfy at least some of their transport needs. They will be keen to read your response, which will be published in one of our blog posts about a fortnight before election day.

I would, therefore, be grateful if you could send me your response by Saturday 7 April at the latest.

Regards,

Charles Martin
London Cycling Campaign borough coordinator in Sutton
getsuttoncycling.org.uk

Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/transport/our-vision-transport/mayors-transport-strategy-2018

Mayor’s Transport Strategy: how will the <name of party> in Sutton help deliver?

13 April 2018

Posted a tweet to thank the Sutton Liberal Democrats for their reply, and to offer a gentle reminder to the others:

On 4 March we wrote to the four main parties in Sutton to ask them how they would help the Mayor of London deliver targets set in the Transport Strategy. Yesterday a response was received from , but nothing yet from or

v1: 17.04.2018; Labour response added 20.04.2018

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