The Overview & Scrutiny Call-In Sub-Committee voted last Thursday to unanimously support our call for the Cabinet member responsible to reconsider the proposed Greenwich to Bexley Quietway Scheme.
The scheme, which would run from Eltham Park South to Well Hall Road via Eltham Park Gardens and Dunvegan Road, even failed to gain the support of local cycling group, Greenwich Cycle. The call-in was proposed by Cllr Drury and seconded by Cllr Davis due to concerns regarding the impact changes at the Well Hall Road/Dunvegan Junction would have on the small businesses based on the parade.
Alongside the two ward Councillors, representatives from local businesses appeared before the Committee to voice their opposition too. They highlighted the impact removing five parking spaces would have on their business, as well as a reduction in the size of loading space available to businesses. The Officer’s report had set out that the five spaces being lost at the junction would be replaced by an additional two spaces. However, when the ward Councillors scrutinised the response, officers admitted that only one space would be replaced on Well Hall Road, while the other space would come from converting one of the ‘car club’ spaces on Dunvegan Road into a permanent space. It’s worth pointing out that the ‘car club’ spaces are already used by shoppers a vast majority of the time due to a lack of parking enforcement by the Council.
All representations mentioned how Dunvegan Road was a poor option for a cycle route, particularly one aimed at less confident riders who were looking for a ‘quietway’. Dunvegan Road is often used as a cut through by motorists, and the proposed route would involve cyclists having to navigate busy and dangerous junctions at both ends of Dunvegan. It was for these reasons Greenwich Cycle were unable to support the scheme.
During the meeting, the ward Councillors proposed the alternative of a safer route heading directly from the park via Glenlea Road. This route would be quieter, and cyclists would be able to take advantage of the wide pavement and existing cycle route through Eltham Station.
The response of the Cabinet member and department officials was frustrating for all involved. With mounting evidence that the scheme would negatively impact traders and be avoided by cyclists, the Cabinet member doubled down supporting the scheme.
Interestingly, Council Officers revealed an upcoming review of the Eltham Station CPZ during their response. This poses the question that surely any review should be performed before a final decision is made on the Quietway route. We will be following up with Council officers for a timescale on this review and will keep residents up to date.
Thankfully, all members of the Committee agreed with local businesses, cyclists and Councillors. Referring the scheme back to the Cabinet member for a rethink.
We hope the Cabinet member will see sense and work with local residents, cyclists, and Councillors to develop a scheme that works for all.