TfL Reply to A243 Correspondence

 




It will be seen by the response from TfL (their first paragraph in blue), that they are completely ignorant of any crashes where there is no personal injury, which must account for 99.99% of the problems on the A243.   You may think that we are being given the Brush Off?



                CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION


A Summary of Traffic Problems on the A243 Hook and Leatherhead Road


Prepared by Mike Hoare, Jim Taylor and Francis Brannan


September 2009



Introduction


During the last year Mike Hoare, the Chairman of the Ace of Spades Residents Association, has undertaken research which has definitely confirmed that there are no comprehensive road accident statistics held by any public body in the Kingston area. The public bodies with responsibility for road safety on the A243 are the Police, the Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) and Transport for London (TfL). The Fire Brigade and the Ambulance Service record the activities of their personnel but not with the intention of monitoring the number of accidents on any given road. The only accidents accurately recorded by those public bodies responsible for road safety are fatal accidents or accidents causing serious injury.  However, no matter how serious an accident is, if there is no serious injury or fatality it is unlikely that the accident is recorded by the Police, RBK or TfL. As a result of there being no comprehensive accident records there is no detailed knowledge or understanding of how dangerous the A243 road really is.


Collision data is captured by the Metropolitan Police who attend the scene of all personal injury accidents. They record details of the accident using a set proforma including time, weather conditions, vehicles, persons involved etc. This data is then verified and logged onto a system which is managed by the London Road Safety Unit (LRSU), which is a division of TfL. The data is continually monitored and includes slight, serious and fatal injuries (i.e. all accidents which are attended by the Police). This data can be supplied on written request by contacting LRSU.



A3 South bound - A243 Junction at Hook, The Ace of Spades Roundabout


Hook Rise South feeds west bound traffic from the A3 and surrounding roads to the roundabout. At the roundabout there are two traffic lanes. The nearside lane is marked with arrows on the road showing traffic can go straight ahead or turn left.  The right hand lane arrows on the road show ahead only. All the arrows are covered by vehicles when there is anything but light traffic and so become useless. ‘Out of area drivers’ in the right hand lane often assume that the road ahead is only a slip road off the A3 and that traffic will go left or right but never straight over. In fact, as local


residents  know, the road ahead is not a slip road and does not return to the A3. It is a road in its own right, the A309, for access to Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Esher, and as such is well used.

 

There are many causes of accidents.  They occur mainly when drivers from both lanes attempt to enter either the A243 or the A309 simultaneously.  However, there are endless permutations in the causes of accidents because fundamentally the roundabout is too small to take the volume of traffic.


After years of protest, TfL has decided to make the left hand lane 'left turn only', to feed traffic into the A243. This is a high risk solution that is more to do with quicker traffic flow than road safety. It does not solve a number of the traffic problems that exist on or close to the roundabout. The TfL scheme is a 'cop out' that legitimises careless driving and creates as many risks as it solves. If it is to work then supplementary action needs to be undertaken.


In our opinion the best we can currently hope for is better signage.  The use of markings on the road are useless. 


Firstly, we need better route signs than the two we currently have. They need simplifying to clearly inform drivers that a left turn goes to Hook, Chessington and Leatherhead.  The second exit gets you to Claygate,  Hinchley Wood and Esher.  The third exit gets you to Surbiton and Kingston.  The signs should also say ‘no access to the southbound A3’.


Secondly, we need clear and simple signs, ideally mounted overhead, to inform drivers which lane to get into. The left hand lane should be signed ‘left turn only’, as that is the route that most of the traffic takes.  The right hand lane should be marked ‘ahead or right only’. 


Although this would resolve many of the problems it would still mean that the local drivers from Hook who wanted to go to Esher or Kingston would have to move into the right hand lane.  However, they are probably the smallest number of users of the junction and have the best local road safety knowledge, and so are most likely to survive this hazardous manoeuvre.


Over the past 3 years the numbers of collisions at this location have shown a downward trend going from 7 to 9 then down to 1. Despite this TfL is currently developing a proposal to further improve safety at Hook Roundabout. The main problem is that the roundabout is very small for the amount of traffic using it which often results in queues on the approaches. Drivers are then tempted to bypass the queues by driving in the outside lane and there is no way of preventing what is in effect poor driving behaviour. The new arrow marking will at least direct vehicles to use the nearside lane when approaching the roundabout, but placing additional signs is not possible due to the narrow footways and the signing which is already in place.



The Ace of Spades to the North Star


Drivers leave the A3, a 50 mph speed limit dual carriageway road, and turn on to the A243, which although it is a dual carriageway has a 30mph speed limit. However, there are no signs indicating the speed limit at all on this section of the road.


The 30mph speed limit is necessary because it is the main road through the residential heart of our community.  In recent years it has had to bear a hugely increased amount of non communal through traffic.  The two roads look somewhat similar and drivers are inclined to drive at the same speed on the A243 as they have done on the A3.  On this section of road, as there are no speed signs to indicate, or warn, that the speed limit has been reduced to 30 mph, many drivers accelerate to 50 mph or more before they reach the North Star.  This is especially dangerous as the North Star is located on the brow of a low hill and drivers travelling at these high speeds cannot see the road ahead until they pass the brow of the hill.


This section of the road has a large number of various road signs, which cause visual clutter and confusion, but no speed limit signs.  In adjacent suburbs Surrey County Council adopt the best practice

of reducing road signs to the minimum necessary and of putting speed roundel signs on lamp posts.  On Chessington Road between Ewell and Chessington the roundels are fixed to every third lamp post.  On the straight road between Cobham and Esher the 40 mph speed limit roundels are located on every alternate lamp post. In our opinion this is the safest practice.


There are 30mph signs when you leave the A3 (where the speed limit changes from 50mph), but the signing regulations do not allow you to erect repeater 30 mph signs along an urban road with street lighting. As a result TfL has worked with Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) to erect poster style signs on the light columns warning motorists to slow down. In addition TfL has recently erected two speed camera warning signs with the 30 mph roundel on them, but these can only be placed in advance of the speed camera itself. RBK also have a rolling programme of speed activated signing and for certain periods of the year they erect one of these installations on the A243 with TfL’s permission.



The North Star Speed Camera


The speed camera is located one hundred yards beyond the brow of the hill. In this position it is of no road safety value in slowing southbound drivers because the camera cannot be seen by them until they are upon it. Northbound drivers can see the camera a long way ahead and their speed is effectively moderated.


The camera is not kept constantly loaded with film and is inactive for long periods. When it is operative and tracking southbound vehicles it records a huge number of speed infringements. Local residents would like to see the camera in full time use because even in this limited role of punishing speeding drivers and raising funds it is of some value. We have said elsewhere that this camera alone would generate enough fines to pay the wages of a full time operative equipped with a van to maintain it in use!


This indicates how bad speeding is on this part of the A243!


Over the past 36 months there has not been a single collision on either of the approaches to the camera. This alone demonstrates the benefits of this installation.


The North Star to the Hook Centre.


This section of the road currently has the greatest number of accidents along the A243. The primary cause is the speed of traffic. Residents living along this stretch of road, including Councillor Bamford, will testify to the high number of accidents which occur. Many of these are major accidents and it is a miracle that there have been no deaths in recent years. The scale is illustrated by one such accident seen by the writer of this paragraph, who does not live in this part of the suburb. The whole front of an Audi convertible had been torn off! The two occupants of the vehicle were standing by the wreck in a state of deep shock. Because they were otherwise uninjured this accident would go unrecorded.


In the latest 36 months ending 12 June 2009 there has been 2 collisions along this section of Hook Road, making it statistically one of the safest sections along the entire route.


The Hook Centre


This facility was designed to be at the centre of a community hub and itself generates a significant number of people who cross the road at this point. TfL rearranged the bus stops of our four local routes so that they are now located outside the Hook Centre. This further increased the number of people crossing the road.


However the traffic lights on the corner of Elm Road and Hook Road, which is adjacent to the Hook Centre, have no pedestrian phase. There is always at least one stream or more of traffic which has a green light. Some of the green signals cannot be seen by pedestrians crossing the road. This makes crossing the road at this point extremely hazardous. The young and the elderly are particularly in danger.


The nearest safe crossing for pedestrians is nearly one hundred yards away. Many people will not make the effort to go to the safe crossing and cross the road outside the Hook Centre. This was absolutely predictable when the centre was first designed but TfL made no effort to upgrade the traffic lights at that time. Indeed TfL made no comment on the road safety issues inherent in pedestrians crossing the road when responding to the statutory consultation during the building design.


In December 2007 a pensioner who was crossing the road was dragged to his death underneath a lorry when the traffic moved off on receiving a green light. That was a completely avoidable horrible death for which TfL must bear part of the responsibility. Subsequently planning has taken place to make the crossing safe for pedestrians. However, nearly two years after the fatal accident, there is as yet no finite date for the work to be carried out.


TfL is well aware of the fatality that occurred in December 2007 and has been working with RBK to develop suitable remedial measures. A preliminary design is currently being developed for pedestrian facilities at the Hook Road junction with Elm Road. The preferred option has been identified and work is being carried out to finalise the layout without impacting on other road users.


Hook Centre to the White Hart Pedestrian Crossing.


Along this section of the road there are four sets of traffic lights, two of which are operated by pedestrian crossings. During the day these effectively control the traffic speed. However problems do occur during the late evening and at night. Please see the separate sections ‘Traffic Speeding at Night’ and ‘Air Pollution’.


White Hart Pedestrian Crossing to Bridge Road Roundabout.


Though southbound traffic accelerates upon leaving the White Hart pedestrian crossing it is usually unable to build up a high speed before arriving at the roundabout and usually having to stop.


However, northbound traffic has different characteristics. The Bridge Road roundabout is of medium size, located on a slope and carries a large amount of traffic both from the Leatherhead and Bridge Road. Northbound traffic usually accelerates while still on the roundabout and exits the roundabout at speed.


This creates two types of accidents. One type occurs when vehicles leaving Mansfield Road, which often have difficulty accessing the roundabout due to traffic volume and traffic speed, misjudge the gap in the traffic available to them. Crashes then occur, some of which have been of surprising violence with cars overturned.


The second type of accident occurs when vehicles using the roundabout have accelerated too fast and lose control when entering the Hook Road. This is especially dangerous as there is a bus stop immediately adjacent to the roundabout. Another serious danger is that drivers lose control and cross into the opposing southbound lanes of traffic on the Hook Road. This is possible because the central reservation is narrow and only defined by kerbs. There is no crash barrier on this dangerous section of road.

A recent accident involved a Mercedes saloon car crossing into the southbound traffic and crashing into a lighter vehicle whose driver received two broken legs and other injuries serious enough to require evacuation by helicopter. He was lucky not to be killed.


This section of the road requires the installation of crash barriers to protect the bus stop in the northbound lane and to stop vehicles being able to crash across the central reservation. Such barriers would also force pedestrians to cross the road safely and not haphazardly as at present.


In the past 36 months there has only been one personal injury accident along this section, where the driver drove into the back of a police vehicle. There is no evidence of cars crossing into the opposing carriageway and installing crash barriers would giver the visual representation of a motorway which is likely to encourage greater speeds. The level difference between the two carriageways would also render the barrier ineffective as vehicles are likely to leap over the top.



Bridge Road Roundabout to Garrison Lane


During the morning and evening rush hours this part of the road is heavily congested. However, at other times of the day traffic speeds along this section of road.  It is breathtaking to stand at the bottom of Ellingham Road after 8pm in the evening and see how fast the traffic is moving. Residents living on the eastern side of this road do not attempt to make right turns, i.e. north bound, when leaving home because it is too dangerous.  Instead they turn left, southbound, then into Merritt Gardens to do a u turn and so rejoin the Leatherhead Road in a northbound direction. 


At Merritt Gardens there is a set of traffic lights which has no pedestrian crossing phase in its sequence.  As this junction is one of the main exits for over 500 homes on the Mansfield and Winey Estates, as well as the adjacent Merritt Health Centre, we believe that a pedestrian phase is needed.  As a society we are trying to encourage people to walk.  In this case many local residents work in London and walk from the estates to Chessington South station. They should be protected when crossing the busy road by a pedestrian phase in the traffic light sequence.


The Merritt Gardens traffic lights are also used as a pedestrian crossing by the students of St Philips Special Needs School and Chessington Community College.  The St Philips students petitioned our Neighbourhood Committee for a pedestrian sequence to be installed in these traffic lights but it was refused by Transport for London.  We think that this decision was especially harsh bearing in mind that St Philips is a ‘special needs school’ and it is inappropriate to force its pupils to walk an extra 200 or 300 yards in order to safely cross the road.  In our experience they will not do so and put themselves at risk by crossing at Merritt Gardens.  The claim by TfL that another pedestrian sequence in these traffic lights would unduly slow traffic is contemptible.


On the 11th of September 2009 the Kingston Development & Control Committee gave permission to build a Lidl supermarket half way along this stretch of road on the western side.  TfL were consulted.  Their only requests were that the entry/exit to the supermarket be made wide enough and that on the southbound lane of the Leatherhead Road a feeder lane to facilitate the right turn should be constructed. For obvious reasons we think that Tfl’s response to the planning application was completely and utterly wrong and thoughtless.


We acknowledge that the junction with Garrison Lane improvements have now been funded and work is about to commence.


TfL commissioned a feasibility study to consider the implications of adding pedestrian facilities to the Merritt Gardens junction, and it was found that there are very few accidents, low numbers of pedestrians and the additional delay would cause significant queuing during peak hour periods. TfL has provided a detailed response to the petition and this was reported at the relevant RBK Committee meeting.


TfL was consulted on the Lidl development and made a full and detailed assessment of the proposal before making its recommendations. The full details of the access arrangements have yet to be finalised as part of the Section 278 process, but the likely impact of the store doesn’t warrant major modifications to the road layout.


Garrison Lane to the Malden Rushett junction 


There are no major problems on this part of the road.  TfL’s demands for an extremely expensive rebuild of CWA’s north car park entrance have been moderated and work will commence this winter, only a year late!  The entrances to the Chessington Garden Centre have now been satisfactorily rebuilt. 


Chessington World of Adventures are required to signalise the North Car Park as part of the planning obligations in relation to the recently opened hotel. The junction will allow traffic to turn right safely and includes new pedestrian crossing facilities. Works are provisionally programmed to commence in January 2010.







Malden Rushett Road Junction


This is a highly dangerous road junction and is the cause of many road accidents.  In years past there were many deaths.  In recent years we have had accidents which have caused serious injuries but fortunately no deaths.  This should rightly be attributed to the improved construction of modern motor vehicles and is not in any way the result of care and attention from TfL.


TfL acknowledge the serious road safety situation at this junction and have drawn up plans to refurbish the junction.  In our opinion these proposals are inadequate. The junction is already highly

dangerous and will become even more so as traffic volume increases from the Epsom hospital redevelopments.   We have stated our concerns to TfL and very clearly asked them how their specific individual proposals will resolve the currently dangerous situation (see appendix 2).  We received no detailed response to our letter.


Although Tfl finalised their designs over eighteen months ago there is as yet no funding allocated for the work and no prospect of the work being carried out.  This junction remains very dangerous.


Malden Rushett village continues to suffer day long traffic congestion, near traffic gridlock on days when CWA has large numbers of visitors, extremely high levels of air and noise pollution and suffers excessive vibration from speeding HGV’s during the night. (see separate note on this topic).  We have no knowledge of TfL actively attempting to resolve these problems.  


TfL responded to the attached letter at the time it was submitted. The local residents in Malden Rushett have been consulted on the proposals and voted unanimously in favour of the scheme. Anybody living over 1km from the junction would not of been included in the consultation exercise as it is not possible to consult everybody using the junction on the proposals. Although the design has been completed the cost of the works is estimated to be in excess of £1 Million, and unfortunately in the current economic climate it has not been possible to identify the resources needed to implement the measures. In the meantime TfL are considering other improvements which could be progressed without the same cost implications.



Air Pollution and Noise Pollution


In recent years RBK commissioned a study of air pollution in the Borough and the A243 was shown to be an area of major pollution.  This pollution exists along the length of the roads and is especially concentrated at the Hook Community Centre, Hook Parade and Malden Rushett village. At the moment our Association is attempting to have research undertaken to establish a linkage between the high levels of air pollution and the increased incidences of respiratory disease known to occur in this area.  We think that TfL, as the road authority, have a duty to conduct air pollution monitoring on the road to accurately understand the nature of this problem.  We would then expect them to make proposals to alleviate the air pollution. 


We believe that TfL have similar responsibilities, which they do not at present undertake, with regard to noise pollution along the length of this road.  Noise levels along the A243 from the Ace of Spades to the Bridge Road roundabout, and in Malden Rushett village are excessive. 


Monitoring of air and noise pollution is the responsibility of the Local Authority. In recent years TfL has adopted the use of resurfacing materials which significantly reduce road traffic noise.


Damage caused by Heavy Goods Vehicles


Please see the letter from the owner of Vane Cottage, Hook Parade, (appendix 1 below). Similar complaints have been received by our Association from Malden Rushett residents.


The problems occur at night when through traffic HGV’s travel up or down the A243 and, because of the time of day, encounter a sequence of green traffic lights which enable them to speed along the road. This causes significant levels of vibration which damages buildings adjacent to the road. We would like TfL to institute a regime whereby traffic lights default either to red, which is the best way of slowing traffic, or change colour regularly in a non synchronised manner, which will also slow traffic, although not as effectively as the first proposal.


TfL engineers have met with the owner of Vane Cottage and listened to his concerns in order to resolve the problems. Following the meeting TfL adjusted some of the manhole covers in the road which were apparently causing vibration. The idea of setting the traffic signals to slow traffic goes against the principles of ‘traffic smoothing’ which is currently a high priority for Mayor. Also by setting the signals to stop traffic you would be increasing the amount of noise and air pollution which is something we would all like to improve.


Cycling on the A243


Over the years we have read in the press with bemusement reports of initiatives originating in City Hall to encourage London’s residents to cycle.  This is a policy also held by the Royal Borough of Kingston.  However, it is true to say that virtually no cyclists use the A243.  If we see a cyclist we speculate that we are watching a person with a death wish!  In the few places that cycle lanes have been painted on the road it is very apparent that they are too narrow and offer no protection from speeding traffic.  There is virtually no ‘off road’ cycle lane construction between the Ace of Spades and the M25 junction.


The A243 is part of the London Cycle Network (LCN) and where possible measures have been implemented to make it safer to cycle along the route. The link provides a direct route for people from Chessington wishing to cycle to Kingston Town Centre and there are numerous cyclists using the route on a daily basis. The Highways Agency and Surrey County Council are the Highway Authority for the roads between the Ace of Spades and M25.


Policing the A243 and the role of the Traffic Police


The A243 from the Ace of Spades to Malden Rushett is characterised by excessive amounts of traffic, a great deal of speeding and a lot of bad driving. Yet there is virtually no presence of Traffic Police on this road.  Very occasionally radar traps are established on the road.  One regular site, set up in the evenings, is a little before the North Star pub and catches a large number of speeding motorists.  We welcome this radar trap.


The other regular location for a radar trap is on the northbound lane at the junction with Kelvin Grove, which is a few yards from the Ace of Spades roundabout.  Obviously this location for a speed trap has no road safety value at all.  We presume that it is established by the Traffic Police in order to bring the numbers of offenders they catch up to their target level.  


The only other ‘policing’ on the A243 is when occasionally TfL send a small team to enforce the red route regulations at the Ace of Spades.  Local residents think this is a waste of TfL’s resources.


Policing the A243 should be undertaken in a way that reflects the priorities of the local community.  Our Safer Neighbourhood Policing has been a success partly because the community and the Police are able to establish local priorities for the Police to focus on.  This style of partnership working should be extended to the A243.  The community and the local Police Commander should be able to identify the local problems and priorities then work together to find effective solutions.  


Other than parking enforcement TfL is not responsible for policing the A243.


Transport for London


In these notes we have written extensively about TfL. At local operational level we have no complaint at all about the personnel that we deal with.  The engineers who have had responsibility for this section of the road have, in our experience, been excellent.  However, as soon as you move into other areas of contact with TfL, to get them to examine their policies or attempt to get any agreed changes or developments actioned or amended, then you encounter complete inertia.


At the most basic level TfL can be very frustrating. A good example is the manner in which TfL undertake work on the road.  There appears to be inadequate supervision of contractors.  Work often grinds to a halt.  Sites and debris are left surrounded by barriers, often for months.  The grass verges are killed by the rubbish and barriers become play things for hooligans to throw into the road.  Endless phone calls and emails are required to get work underway again.


Since the creation of TfL there have been only two major initiatives which have benefitted local road safety. One was the moderation of TfL’s plans to turn the A243 into a ‘red route’. However, the revision of the initial plans was not voluntarily undertaken by TfL. It came about because our GLA member was able to arrange that a

delegation of local Councillors and residents was able to twice meet Ken Livingstone. It was Ken who made the decision to amend TfL’s scheme.


The second action which has benefitted road safety was the creation of a new pedestrian crossing outside the White Hart pub. This initiative originated with our Councillors and its success might be considered a small miracle.


In this community TfL has spent tens of thousands of pounds and man hours rebuilding side road entrances which have a mainly cosmetic effect and offer little or no road safety value. Yet the absolute need of installing a safe crossing for pedestrians at the Hook Centre or rebuilding the Malden junction, both projects offering major road safety benefits, are not undertaken.


TfL have found the money to erect dozens of ‘low emission zone’ signs at the entrances to all side roads on the A243. Yet, despite numerous requests, they have never installed speed limit signs between the Ace of Spades and the North Star! What values or sense of priority does TfL have?


In our opinion TfL are not fit for purpose as a road authority and we would like to see responsibility and funding for the A243 returned to the Royal Borough of Kingston.


TfL is the highway authority for the A243 and will continue to work with the Local Council and other stakeholders to improve conditions for all road users along this busy corridor. TfL inherited the route from RBK following the GLA Act and has since worked with them to develop a package of measures to improve the route for all road users. TfL tried to implement a package of Red Route parking controls in line with the rest of the network, but opposition forced TfL to scale back the proposals, while taking into account the concerns of local residents. The Red Route is now a compromise of controls which would allow cars to stop outside of the peak hour periods despite the numerous vehicle movements.


We continually monitors accident levels and allocates our safety budgets where it is likely to gain the greatest return on the investment. Since its formation TfL has undertaken a review of every major junction along the route which will soon see improvements at Hook Road roundabout, Chessington World of Adventures north car park, Bridge Road roundabout and the Garrison Lane junction. In addition proposals are being developed to improve the Elm Road and Malden Rushett junctions. Cycle facilities have been introduced along the sections running from Garrison Lane to Hook Roundabout and in recent years all of the bus stops have been upgraded to DDA standards, so the elderly and disabled can make use of the bus services. A new pedestrian crossing has been implemented next to Trewenna Drive, and Holmwood Road has been closed to through traffic to prevent ‘rat-running’ in the residential areas next to Hook Road. TfL works in partnership with RBK in developing proposals, and where appropriate takes into account the needs of local residents to improve their quality of life.





Appendix One and Two




Appendix 1


‘I'm Tim Hendy, of Vane Cottage, and last time I spoke to Richard Heath (I think, in May this year), I promised him to lend my weight to the Hook Road traffic problem debate by detailing my personal concerns:
 

Vane Cottage was built in the Stuart era, ca. 1669, and is the oldest building in Hook, and one of two Listed Buildings here, I believe.
 
It has a Grade II status, which imposes a considerable burden of care upon its owner - without attracting any grant or other form of financial support from Kingston, or indeed any other body, as far as I'm aware.

It is sited on the A243, Hook Road, which takes the form of a dual carriageway and is a Red Route; but it is also a residential road, restricted to 30MPH. 


The problems here arise from speeding, principally. At peak times, during the rush hour, traffic speed is limited by the sheer volume of it. At other times, especially during the small hours, this section of the road, from the speed camera at the North Star pub, to the Hook Road/Leatherhead Road roundabout, there is effectively a free-for-all, as, generally, once that camera has been negotiated, drivers will have four sets of green traffic lights to encourage them to drive as fast as humanly possibly - sometimes faster, with disastrous results (in the months just prior to my moving here, Autumn 2004, a BMW ended up in my front garden).

The camera at the North Star is the last concrete attempt to enforce the national speed limit applying to all residential areas throughout the land; the next impediment to gung-ho motorists is the very large roundabout beyond the old White Hart pub, and bottle-necked two-lanes-into-one thereafter.

Vane Cottage has been deemed worthy of preservation, by law, yet, shakes, shivers and shudders at night time, with juggernauts sometimes hitting speeds of, I guess, 60+MPH by the time they reach my front door. Despite having been treated for subsidence in the last ten years, cracks are re-appearing, and I must confess to fearing for my safety during periods when the whole building seems to rock; when will its roof end up in my bed?

I strongly feel, therefore, that the 30 MPH speed limit must be enforced; it's simply not good enough to have one speed camera sited so far away, and an occasional policeman at either end of the road with a hand-held radar trap.  

Tim Hendy’.
 



Appendix 2


CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

1, Selwood, Road, Chessington, KT9 1PT – Telephone 020 8397 3923

Vice Chairman – Mr Jim Taylor



Mr Niall Coward

Directorate of Road Network Development

Transport for London

London Streets,

Windsor House,

42-50, Victoria Street,

London

SW1H OTL


10th June 2008



Dear Mr Coward


A243 Leatherhead Road junction with Rushett/Fairoak Lane


Thank you for your letter dated the 22nd of May 2008 addressed to Mr Jim Taylor, the Vice Chairman of our Association concerning your public consultation. This has been discussed by the Executive Committee of our Association.  I have been tasked with writing to you in the absence of Mr Jim Taylor who is on holiday.


Our members would like you to be somewhat more specific as to what has been achieved and incorporated into your revised plans as a result of the consultation. Would you please give us an indication of your thinking or your decisions on the following aspects of this project?


Your letter makes no mention at all of road safety which is a primary concern to us.  Indeed your brochure also skated over the issue in three words “creating safety issues”.  How are you proposing to ensure the safety of vehicles turning right?  This is especially important to vehicles making right turns during the morning and evening periods when ‘jumping the lights’ is common place.  The junction has had a large number of accidents and we are very lucky that, so far, none have been fatal. How are you planning to make this junction safer?


Our members are also very concerned as to how your proposals will deal with the enormous increase in the volume of traffic using the junction which has occurred in recent years and which is continuing to grow.  As well as the general rise in UK and London traffic volumes this junction is directly used by a great many of the residents of the very large  housing estates built in recent years on the ‘Epsom cluster’, the closed mental hospital sites which have been redeveloped. The last development, of West Park hospital, which is adding 500 houses, a 150 bed hotel and a conference centre with a capacity for 300 day visitors.  Most of that traffic will use the Malden Rushett junction.  How are you proposing to deal with this massive increase in traffic levels when redesigning the junction? 


It has been noted that the arrangements for north bound cars turning right which were made in your consultation brochure are of limited capacity.  If at any time more than eight cars queue to turn right they will completely block the junction to northbound traffic and cause a traffic queue in Malden Rushett.  Has this part of the plan been amended?


We are very concerned with the levels of air and noise pollution along the length of the A243 from Hook to Malden Rushett.  The levels of air and noise pollution already suffered by the residents of Malden Rushett are, we believe, well in excess of European maximum permitted levels and could well present a hazard to the health of the residents.  How will your proposals deal with the issue of pollution?  Will your proposals reduce queuing and congestion in the village and so help to alleviate pollution? 


Your letter dismisses the concept of a roundabout to the north of the village as its land consumption would have a ‘detrimental impact on the environment’.  We find this statement rather strange when it is weighed against the amount of injury incurred in road accidents at the junction, the continuing possibility of fatal accidents and the amount of pollution already suffered by the residents as a result of traffic congestion.  It is also strange as this must be one of the few junctions in London where land is readily available for use in a redevelopment.  The land to the North West is a wasteland with a chequered planning history and no current prospect of future use.  For many years the land to the north east has been available to purchase for the building of a roundabout. We understand that TfL have, for a number of years,  held significant amounts of   ‘section 106’ money specifically raised for the redevelopment of the junction.


It is now more than twenty one months since we attended a site visit with Tfl Engineers which was arranged by Tony Arbour our GLA Member.

Since then there have been a number of accidents at the junction.  The most serious occurred when a south bound travelling motorist was struck by a north bound Mercedes motor car which was turning right.  That could easily have been a fatal accident.  Would you now please give us an indication of your timescale for the redevelopment?


We would also ask you to give us details of your consultation.  Here in Chessington, Hook and Malden Rushett our Councillors and Borough Council Officers operate a ‘best practice’ policy of making full details of consultations known to the community. We would like to know the numbers of those who responded to the consultation and an indication of what was said.  There are some worries about how widely the community was consulted.  Obviously the 400 or so residents of Malden Rushett are the most closely situated to the junction and most directly suffer its accidents and pollution.  However, a far greater number of local residents from Chessington and Hook actually use this dangerous junction each day.  Were they consulted?  Certainly the three main Resident Associations’ in Hook and Chessington were not directly consulted.  We were only able to respond thanks to the efficiency of one of our local Councillors who drew our attention to the consultation. 


Yours Sincerely



Francis Brannan

Secretary to the Association