Team working on town centre project has been furloughed
Artist's impression of a pedestrianised town centre. Picture: Wandsworth Council
The cash crisis at Transport for London due to the impact of coronavirus has had a knock-on impact on a number of traffic schemes across the capital.
But some schemes have been delayed for years already, such as the much-debated plan to remove Wandsworth’s one way system.
Initial consultations to remodel the gyratory system were carried out way back in 2014 but plans were first outlined more than a decade ago.
The aim is to end the dominance of cars and lorries in the town centre, leaving it free for buses, bicycles and pedestrians.
Under the proposals drawn up by TfL’s highway engineers, traffic would be re-routed away from Wandsworth High Street onto Armoury Way, which would become two-way.
The council hopes the changes would result in a significant reduction in traffic between Fairfield Street and Putney Bridge Road and provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists, while still allowing buses to service the area.
The works would be part of the town centre regeneration to boost local business and the local economy.
Work was originally scheduled to commence in 2017, and was then delayed until 2021, but is now expected to be put back further.
At a meeting at Wandsworth council last week, leader Ravi Govinida told councillors that TfL remains committed to remodelling the gyratory system, however, there will be further delays.
He told councillors that these were brought about by TfL furloughing staff for much of 2020 as a result of the pandemic, including the team working on this project.
“I can confirm that the TfL project team is now back in place. Its first task is to submit a business case for the project to the Department of Transport – expected to be made in April or May, to seek funding from the Major Road Network funding pot,” he said.
“This is an important step as, while it will not reduce the overall cost of the scheme, if successful it could reduce the level of funding that the council would need to make for its implementation.
“It is expected that the outcome of the funding submission will be known in the summer 2021.”
In September 2019 the council entered into an agreement with TfL, vowing to contribute up to £27.5m of the estimated costs of £79.2m.
sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
March 9, 2021