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Sutton Council to improve Hackbridge junction following independent surveys

Controlled crossings will be introduced in Hackbridge after Sutton Council commissioned independent reviews into the Heart of Hackbridge scheme.

Sutton Council has been monitoring the effects of the Greater London Authority funded scheme ever since it was completed last year in the area where London Road and Hackbridge Road meet.

The £1.4m scheme was overseen by the Hackbridge Delivery Board made up of Bioregional, the GLA, Sutton Council, the Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Planning Group, local businesses and residents.

It included making the area more accessible and attractive through measures including wider footways, step free access to shops, new shop fronts, disabled parking bays, stop and shop parking, new benches and seating areas, bike parking, new street trees and landscaping.

It also added a new road layout including informal crossings.

Since September, the council has been monitoring the effects of the new junction. This work has included commissioning a Road Safety Audit, a separate Accessibility Audit and a User Survey. It also took on the views of local residents and disability groups that there was still a need for controlled crossings.

The independent User Survey found that 83% of those surveyed believed the scheme has improved their perception of the area; 80% said it had made the area more attractive and appealing and 68% believed it enhanced their satisfaction with the shopping area.

The independent Road Safety Audit and the Accessibility Audit made recommendations to improve the junction which the council is going to act on.

The main changes, which will be subject to design and consultation, will be:

  • Controlled crossings (eg zebra or push button) will be put in key locations.
  • Removal of the informal crossing closest to the junction on London Road (by the roundabout)
  • Drainage investigation to resolve poor surface water drainage between London Road and Mile Road

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, said:

“The council has a duty to monitor the impact of all new traffic schemes. The independent surveys have told us that while 83% of those surveyed people believe the Heart of Hackbridge scheme has improved their perception of the area, some of the changes to the road layout have led to concerns, particularly because of a lack of controlled crossings.

“We are going to fix that by following the recommendations of the surveys as well as bringing in other measures including consulting on putting in a 20 mph zone and also extending the use of a lollipop person outside the school until Christmas while the changes bed in.

“Our changes have been agreed with the Hackbridge Delivery Board and we are going to work with local residents to bring them in.”

Michael Parsons, local resident, guide dog user and Vice Chair of Sutton Vision, said:

“Since the informal ‘courtesy crossings’ have been installed many people with disabilities like me have been unable to visit the area independently or cross the busy roads. The road safety and accessibility audits have demonstrated that these crossings are unsafe and have marginalised sectors of the community.

“We applaud Sutton Council for undertaking the audits which have shown the need for reinstatement of controlled crossings. We look forward to working with the council to achieve this. A victory for common sense.”

Tracey Collins, Hackbridge resident and road safety campaigner, said:

“From the very beginning of the campaign we said formal crossings needed to be reinstated in Hackbridge.

“Our vision for Hackbridge was simple… that everyone felt safe going about their daily lives in their community – whether they are going to school, to work, or just to use the local shops.

“The Heart of Hackbridge project has introduced new seating areas, step free access to local shops and disabled parking which we are sure residents and visitors to Hackbridge have benefitted from.

“We are pleased to hear that Sutton Council are acting on the recommendations of the Safety & Accessibility Reports.”

Original Scheme

The original Heart of Hackbridge scheme was very modern both in terms of design and how it was led by a delivery group involving several partner organisations and extensive public consultation.

Funding was applied for after residents and businesses said the area needed revitalising and that visitors didn’t feel safe because of high vehicle speeds and narrow pavements.

Data taken before the work was carried out recorded instances of speeds in excess of 65 mph and recorded 40 near-misses in a six hour period on the original zebra crossings.

Sutton Council Improvements

Since the original scheme was completed in September, Sutton Council has been monitoring the effects of the new junction. The results of an interim safety audit it carried out in the autumn led to changes made in November and December including additional signage, the replacement of a roundel by a mini-roundabout and a road safety campaign to encourage motorists to slow down in the area.

The council also commissioned the latest Road Safety Audit, Accessibility Audit and User Survey.