Wandsworth Council has responded to concerns about the delay in the implementation of the new Wandsworth one way system by point the finger at Transport for London TfL.
The new design was originally published by TfL in 2014 after being backed in a public consultation but has remained on the drawing board since then. It would have seen the pedestrianisation of the High Street and the return of Wandsworth Gyratory to two way traffic.
A second public consultation in 2016 endorsed the changes and work was expected to begin in the following year with completion by 2019. but nothing happened.
The council says that it has ‘enthusiastically supported’ the proposals and has been raising concerns about delays since 2018. It adds that £27 million has been set aside for the scheme more than a decade ago from money collected from housing developers and this money remains unused in a bank account.
The council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation Cllr John Locker says, “The reason it remains unspent is because this project can only be carried out by Transport for London. All the road space in the one-way system is part of TfL’s strategic road network of ‘red routes’. To put it simply these roads all belong to TfL. The council has no legal powers or authority to make any changes.”
He added, “Regrettably, for one reason or another, TfL has not been able to get the work started, despite recently committing significant funds to other similar types of schemes in other parts of the capital.
“The latest position is that because of its current financial situation, TfL is now planning to ask the Department for Transport for provide it with the money so that it can pay its share of the costs. A business case is being drawn up by TfL and this is likely to be submitted before the summer. The council continues to support the scheme and has confirmed that its £27m contribution remains committed to the scheme.”
TfL has had to negotiate with the Department of Transport for regular short term emergency funding to cover shortfalls in revenue caused by the drop in passenger revenue seen during the pandemic. This has resulted in a severe reduction in its available funds leading to the cancellation of many investment projects planned before the lockdown.
Helen Cansick, TfL's Head of Healthy Streets Investment, said, “We have been working closely with Wandsworth Council to bring forward plans to transform roads in Wandsworth town centre. We hope to make a real difference to reducing the dominance of traffic in the area, making roads more welcoming for people walking, cycling and using public transport. Due to the lack of a long-term funding deal for TfL, investment from the Department for Transport will be needed to build the scheme and we are working to provide the strongest business case possible to the DfT to secure funding for this key project. Some design alterations have extended our submission timescales, however we continue to develop the design to enable the best outcome for this scheme.”
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March 30, 2022