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Pedestrian improvements to Sydenham Road

By the time this newsletter is distributed the long overdue plans for improving Sydenham Road will have been reviewed by the Mayor and Cabinet. If they are approved and the funding is secured, work should begin in January 2010. The plans are designed to enhance the general environment and to make the road more pedestrian friendly.

Proposals for improvements to Station Approach when Lewisham Council adopts this road, will include improved design, paving and parking improvements as part of creating a heart for Sydenham. Lewisham has allocated funds to Station Approach and the consultation process is likely to start at the end of 2009. There will be some parking, but this will not, as now, be dominated by all day parking. The aim is to have half hour short-term parking as in the rest of the high street, together with a station drop off area.

However before any of these road improvements can be started work on renewing the gas mains, taking approximately 14 months, is due to begin throughout the length of Sydenham Road. The first phases involve laying smaller diameter pipes under the pavements (this work has started) and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) promise that access to homes and businesses will be maintained at all times.
From April SGN say they will be working in the carriageway to replace sections of the old metal mains where possible using a process called ‘insertion’ which involves pushing the new pipe into the old one. This method greatly reduces the amount of digging and this, in turn, reduces disruption.

Also to add to the pleasure of travelling through Sydenham in the next twelve months comes the news that at the same time as the gas mains work is in progress Thames Water will be replacing their mains west of the railway bridge at Cobbs Corner. Oh joy!

Sydenham parking restrictions

In early November Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting proposed a series of measures which will have profound implications for parking around Sydenham Road and neighbouring streets.
Introducing charges for Girton Road Car Park
Currently the Girton Road Car is free thanks to a £16,000 pa part-subsidy from Safeway, which ended with the sale of Safeway. Unless the new owner (Somerfield) agrees to reinstate the subsidy, proposed charges will be introduced as follows:

  • Up to 30mins free
  • From 30mins to one hour 50p
  • From one hour to two hours £1.00
  • From two to three hours £2.00
  • From three to six hours £3.00
  • Maximum stay six hours

Local councillors and the Head of Lewisham Transport have agreed to hold meetings with Lidl and Somerfield to see if some money can be found to prevent charges being levied on Girton Road, but as we went to press we had no news that these meetings have been arranged.

What is a Controlled Parking Zone? (CPZ)
An area where parking is restricted only to those local residents and local traders displaying a parking permit on the windscreen of their car. Permits can be purchased from the council, along with short-term permits for visitors. Normal operating hours for a CPZ in an area such as Sydenham are likely to be Monday-Saturday 9am- 6pm.

Which streets are to be included?
There are no indications yet as to how far the zone will extend but to be effective it would have to include all of the streets bordering Sydenham Road and the lower parts of Kirkdale and Westwood Hill.

How much will it cost?
Lewisham CPZs are charged £30 pa per vehicle. There is no limit to the number of vehicles per household, providing the resident can prove that they are the owner of each vehicle. For traders the charge is £300 per vehicle. There is no limit to the number of permits any trader can claim.
If charges are introduced this is likely to have an adverse effect on the local high street as customers make for the giant 1200 free car park at Bell Green to give their custom to Sainsbury’s or other outlets in the out of town retail centre.

Referendum on Controlled Parking Zones
Before parking charges are introduced at Girton Road, residents in the roads adjoining Sydenham Road will have a vote on whether they wish to have a CPZ in the area. On the voting papers, residents will be informed that parking charges for Girton Road are to be introduced – the implication being that once it costs money to use the car park, many more drivers will try to park on nearby streets and residents should take this into account when voting.
Lewisham Council will not attempt to impose a CPZ should a majority of residents vote against the proposal but the charges to use Girton Road Car Park could go ahead whatever the result of the referendum.

Pay and display areas
Some of the bays, generally at the end of a street, will also be areas where non-permit holders can park using a “pay and display” system. There is a limit to the time non-permit holders can park in a pay and display bay – normally no longer than four hours.

Disabled Parking
Disabled bays will not normally be marked out in CPZs unless the person can show that they cannot regularly park in a bay close to their home.

New Year 2005

Sydenham Road environment improvements

The first indication of how the environment and safety of Sydenham Road can be improved was described to a packed room on 20 September at the Sydenham Community Regeneration Partnership (SCRP) meeting, chaired by Cllr Chris Best.

Ian Plowright, Lewisham’s Project Manager, explained the draft designs for improving the junctions along the road from above Cobbs Corner to Mayow Road. It is anticipated that a roundabout will remain, although it will be re-designed and re-sited. The crossings at Cobbs Corner will remain where they are and a much wider ‘Puffin’ crossing, with pedestrian phased lights, will replace the existing zebra crossing on the railway bridge.

The ‘sheep-pen’ type crossings above Newlands Park and also at the Mayow Road crossroads will be removed. New light-controlled pedestrian crossings will be introduced at Sydenham Road /Newlands Park to allow for a pedestrian phase across this dangerous junction, and the bus stop will be relocated to allow for more space for traffic at this junction.

However, disappointingly, no additional bus stops further up Sydenham Road are included in the draft plan as had been hoped for at the public consultation.

At Sydenham Road/Mayow Road new crossings will also allow pedestrians to cross in one ‘go’.

The full set of draft plans, which should include the de-cluttering of our pavements, will be published during November when a further round of consultation will commence.

Ian Plowright will provide additional information at the next on 6 December as part of the public consultation process.