The update below comes following the latest developments with the South Fulham TCPR (Traffic Congestion and Pollution Reduction scheme) and its expansion to the west.
WHO IS NOW OVERSEEING THE SCHEME?
As you may be aware it appears Cllr Ben Coleman is currently no longer involved with the traffic scheme. This follows the Full Council meeting in January where Council Leader Stephen Cowan indicated that residents should now deal with their local ward councillors.
With that, Cllr Matt Thorley (Parsons Green & Walham) has been engaging with various groups and residents in the area and has co-hosted a couple of meetings with the newly formed SOFRA – South Fulham Residents Alliance (More details regarding those meetings and how to register below).
We have also had conversations with Cllrs Matt Uberoi and Ann Rosenberg (Sands End ward) who were also present at at least one of the SOFRA meetings. We encourage their continued participation so as many local councillors are as engaged as possible with the developments.
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE EXTENSION?
The current plans for the extension of the scheme to the west of WBR are still progressing. While some continue to debate if this is a good thing or not, it is clear that it is extremely unlikely that it would, or should, be stopped.
We have become aware that there was a perception that the WBRA was against the extension at all costs. This is not true. The WBRA wants WBR to be integral with the TCPR scheme, rather than wanting it scrapped.
The potential benefits to the whole of SW6 are huge, but the WBR must have protections as well. LBHF engineers have promised that protections for this road will be implemented simultaneously with the western extension.
Our main concern with the extension is that the protections may not be enough. This is why we encourage the engineers to be even more bold and go further with their thinking.
WILL THE SCHEME ACTUALLY HELP WBR?
The traffic engineers insist their plans will in fact help us. We believe that the western extension in isolation could improve Southbound traffic on the WBR but will substantially worsen Northbound traffic, since all through traffic is forced to travel up WBR. Hence the protections, especially the northbound interventions are so important at this juncture.
While we will continue to question them on the viability of these protections we do not want to halt the progress for the western scheme and lead to further delays which ultimately helps no one. We cannot allow the current situation on WBR (or indeed the streets to the west) to become the status quo.
Therefore if LBHF insist the extension will indeed help us, then we are minded to ask them to proceed as quickly as possible – with the following conditions:
- Protections for Wandsworth Bridge Road are implemented at the same time as the western extension.
- Well-defined and measurable parameters of ‘success’ are agreed in advance of implementation – to ensure the primary objectives are being met.
This second point is key to determine the long term success and retention of the experimental scheme.
The key traffic planner has assured us that the expansion is not the final step. He described it like a chess game – where the moves have to happen one step at a time and in a certain order to have the desired outcome.
So, they will constantly assess if it’s working and, if not they will continue to make adjustments. Therefore it’s crucial to agree what the ‘success’ parameters are in advance.
The two key measures should be pollution and congestion. If then the agreed targets are not being met significant changes would need to be made to the scheme. The engineer has assured us this is the case.
WHAT ABOUT IMPERIAL/ TOWNMEAD ROAD?
The WBRA believes that the limited use of these unused roads can create an optimum, sustainable solution for SW6 as a whole. This would further help WBR to thrive as a destination high street. But, we are aware that LBHF currently favours their proposal of routing all non local traffic along the WBR.
However, our opposing views should not halt the progress in designing WBR protections and we wish to support improvements to the west ASAP.
The LBHF solution will need to bring substantial improvements to WBR before the Imperial / Townmead Road concept ‘evaporates’ in the publics mind. Until the scheme is a success, it will always be the alternative solution on the table.
TAKE PART IN THE MEETINGS
Cllr Matt Thorley continues to host meetings with SOFRA and encourages as many people to join these meetings as possible. These meetings seem to have replaced the previous meetings hosted by Ben Coleman.
Register for the next meeting:
17 MARCH AT 6PM:
WHO IS SOFRA?
It seems this is a newly formed group (https://sofulham.com) described as an ‘umbrella organisation of local residents groups’. We only became aware of them when someone forwarded their details. We strongly encourage as many individuals / groups / associations as possible to contact them to ensure full representation of the area – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We now ask the engineers to share with us detailed plans of the interventions for WBR. This is similar to the discussions the other east and west working groups have been having about camera placement, etc. The residents and business of WBR need to be actively engaged with the finer points such as placement of bus-boarders, pedestrian crossings, competing lanes, green-screens, etc.
We also want to work with H&FCyclists to plan for creating a safer, sustainable, cyclist and pedestrian friendly environment on WBR. Their recommendations align with the council’s objectives of the TCPR by enhancing the streetscape and shifting the focus away from a though-route to a healthy, vibrant, cycle friendly destination.
We will continue to work for proper protections and enhancements for WBR which will benefit the whole south Fulham area. Our best path forward is to keep engaged with the officers and engineers to ensure we can improve the decision-making process. We encourage you to engage as well. In our opinion this is the quickest and most effective route towards improving the current situation.