Emergency Covid 19 Active Travel Measures – Ewell Village High Street

***UPDATE*** A petition has now been set up to try and stop the Ewell Bus Gate being implemented. If you like to sign the petition CLICK HERE

Surrey Highways to impose emergency Covid-19 active travel measures in Ewell Village between West St/Church St and Cheam Road. 

Residents and businesses have been sent a letter today ,15th July, outlining the plan which will start within 6 weeks and last for 3 months.

Here is the letter in full:

Dear Resident/Business Owner,

Emergency Covid 19 Active Travel Measures – Ewell Village High Street

Following the government’s recent announcements, we have been working to identify potential Active Travel schemes across the county. The government has given councils the authority to introduce emergency measures during the coronavirus pandemic to support social distancing within towns and to promote alternative ways to travel such as walking and cycling.

We have been working with our partners to identify potential locations where improved spaces for walkers and cyclists would help residents to get out and about as lockdown is gradually lifted. One site that has been chosen to introduce these temporary measures is Ewell Village High Street. This site has been chosen because there are shops and businesses in the High Street, but the footways are narrow in places so there isn’t enough space for pedestrians to circulate and maintain social distancing.

We will be introducing a ‘Bus Gate’ feature on the High Street – between Cheam Road and West Street / Church Street. This will remove all through traffic from Ewell Village except for buses and cyclists. While the space would not be allocated uniquely to pedestrians, with much reduced traffic levels this will encourage shoppers to return and support the shops and businesses like yourselves.

Access for both residents and businesses will remain at all times throughout the duration of the scheme but not through the bus gate. Road access will be via the Reigate Road or East Street Junctions. The car parks at Dorset House and the Green Man can be accessed via the Cheam Road.

Only buses and cyclists will be permitted to pass through the Bus Gate. Access for pedestrians will not be affected. All other vehicles will have to use alternate routes to access either Ewell West / Ewell East and Stoneleigh.

What are we hoping to achieve?

It’s vital that people are able to stay safe when cycling and walking, and to have the space they need to pass each other safely. This is particularly necessary in response to the Government’s strategic objective:

“Local authorities in areas with high levels of public transport use should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing during restart (social distancing in this context primarily refers to the need for people to stay 2 metres apart where possible when outdoors). Local authorities where public transport use is low should be considering all possible measures. Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect

Funding

Surrey was granted £848,000 by the government to support the roll out of active travel schemes. We are therefore the money received from the government, to provide a total budget of £1.69M.

Is this temporary?

These are temporary emergency active travel schemes and are intended to be for 3 months. There is a second tranche of longer term strategic active travel measures that will be prioritised and developed.

Why has there been no consultation?

These are temporary emergency active travel measures to meet the challenge of being able to stay safe when cycling and walking, and to have the space needed to pass each other safely, as we recover from the COVID 19 restrictions. This is in response to the reduced capacity on public transport and to build on the changes in travel choices that have seen a marked increase in active travel.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to consult with all affected residents about these temporary emergency active travel schemes due to the tight timescales set by the Government. However, the views of residents will be noted and taken into consideration with any tweaks to the current pilot schemes. These will help inform any changes of approach for emergency active travel measures in other locations.

What if it is not successful will the measures be kept in place for the entire trial?

Sometimes schemes operate in practice differently to how they were designed, and safety assessed, even after the initial change has had time to settle. These temporary measures will be continuously monitored to assess both for ongoing road safety and effectiveness at supporting cycling and walking.

Feedback from residents and businesses is vital throughout the duration of the scheme to ensure a successful outcome for Ewell Village. Comments can be by sent to us via email [email protected] or by phone on 0300 200 1003.

Further Information

The Bus Gate is scheduled to installed within the next 6 weeks. Advanced Warning Signs detailing the start date of the restrictions will be placed around Ewell Village and surrounding roads to give motorists, businesses and residents warning of when the changes will start.

Up to date information on details of any works in progress, or planned to take place can be found on the Surrey County Council website here; https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roadworks-and-maintenance/maintenance/roads/department-for-transport-capital-funding/roads-and-pavements

Yours Sincerely,

Nick Healey
NE Area Team Manager
Surrey Highways

To see the letter  CLICK HERE

If we understand this right to access any of the car parks off Cheam Rd coming from London Rd, Chessington Rd or Kingston Rd you will have to go up to the Organ Inn junction then turn right along the bypass to the roundabout before heading down Reigate Rd.

What is a worry in paragraph 4 of the letter he states “Road access will be via the Reigate Road or East Street Junctions.” Correct me if i’m wrong but there is no East St in Ewell village. Does he mean Epsom Rd? East St stops at Kiln Lane.

I would encourage you all to email [email protected] now and voice your concerns. 

For details of your local Surrey County Councillor CLICK HERE

For details of your local Epsom & Ewell Councillor CLICK HERE

***UPDATE*** A petition has now been set up to try and stop the Ewell Bus Gate being implemented. If you like to sign the petition CLICK HERE

48 thoughts on “Emergency Covid 19 Active Travel Measures – Ewell Village High Street”

  1. As a florist who delivers to the undertakers in Ewell Village will I still be able to do this, & be able to park close by?

    1. Coming from Epsom Rd way yes Coming from Bourne Hall end of the village you will have to go around the bypass and drive to the esso roundabout and down reigate Rd

        1. Reviews of this implementation will be interesting .. I wonder who says the idea has worked well or not ?

      1. And this is the same for the Emergency Services? So, response times for Police, Ambulances and Fire Engines will increase if they have to circumnavigate the Village and hope there are no hold-ups or skip lorries or dustbin lorries blocking the way? How do you think the residents of West St, the care home and the School Governors of Ewell Grove Primary School feel about this proposal? No one chose to consult them.

    2. Yes. Access will stay as it is now. Some journeys may require a ‘detour’ onto the bypass.

      1. So the “detour” will increase response times for the Emergency Services to the School and care home in West St?

  2. This seems entirely unnecessary. I have walked through the village on multiple occasions and have never not been able to maintain social distancing. I worry this will adversely impact business owners who are already struggling.

  3. What about school access, Drs etc. Maybe the business community that has only just opened up should have been consulted first. This is sheer madness and people will now avoid the area so the shops lose out again!
    Disabled drivers will have to walk further if they cannot park outside the shops.
    People giving lifts or shopping for people shielding will find it extremely difficult too!
    I could go on but know this will fall on deaf ears!!

  4. Have I understood this correctly? Work starts starts September for three months and outcome is “temporary” for Covid distancing. Therefore it will be 6 months before this ‘temporary’ measure is in operation?? Given the timing surely this should be rethought through. Also Phase 2 – alludes to ‘temporary’ being more of an evolved permanence. What is the basic premise for phase 2? What street calming measures will be put in place for what undoubtedly will be newly created rat-runs of Church Street and West Street?

    1. Work to start within 6 weeks and the gates will be in place for 3 months so could be over by end of the year.

      1. What street calming measures will be put in place for what undoubtedly will be newly created rat-runs of Church Street and West Street?

        What is the premise for Phase 2?

  5. Reading this letter of future events in Ewell village, this has made me think about disabled drivers . What about us disabled drivers ? Will we be allowed access to the village please ? There is no word about us !

  6. I have never heard such a load of nonsense in my life . Stop spending money on this rubbish and mend the roads. In particular at the lights at kiln lane and under the railway bridge on approach to the high street . I honestly can’t believe Surrey county council are even considering this project. Can someone start doing some important jobs in the borough .

  7. The Ewell bypass will be one lane only at the Bradford Drive/Stoneleigh Park Road junctions from 27 July while last year’s gas pipe replacement works continue.
    Having restricted traffic in two adjacent areas could be difficult?

  8. I do not drive and therefore have no axe to grind. I walk between Bourne Hall and Reigate Road nearly every day at different times and have seldom experienced any difficulties in maintaining social distancing. The problem is not the width of the pavements but the behavior of an idiotic few who seem to be unable to look and think ahead and are unwilling to wait a few seconds before moving aside where and when it is safe to do so. Also, closing the High Street to traffic will not solve the problem of runners who assume that the pavements are their own private running tracks.

  9. Well, this should pretty effectively channel all the traffic round The Kingsway and West Street. I think we can safely assume that the “temporary” bit will conveniently be forgotten leaving the residential streets of Ewell Village turned into rat-runs and blighted by through traffic in perpetuity.

    As a previous respondent has said, let’s repair the third-world cart tracks that pass for roads in Epsom and Ewell first given that Surrey Highways suddenly appear to be awash with money.

    1. Dear Mr Harrison and other concerned residents
      Following extensive correspondence with “the powers that be” over the last few days, it appears that we have arrived at the following situation (no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong):
      There is mounting concern and opposition to this experimental road scheme in Ewell Village.
      There is confusion as to whose idea this was in the first place.
      There are doubts raised by our local MP and Councillor Cleveland that this will actually reduce business in the village and create a “rat-run” past Ewell Grove Primary and Nursery School.
      There appears to be broad support for review and consultation BEFORE implementation from our MP, Councillor Cleveland and the Concerned Residents.
      There is an almost deafening silence from EVRA & Mr Angus. However, it can be reasonably inferred from such silence that there is no opposition to consulting with the people he represents. If he disagrees, no doubt he will say so publicly.
      The opening press release from Surrey Highways Team stated “unfortunately, it is not possible to consult with all affected residents” about this scheme and yet, within a few days of that release, it has been possible to take soundings and to arrive at the conclusion that this scheme does not fall within emergency measures “to support social distancing within town and to promote alternative ways to travel, such as walking and cycling”, but amounts to a wholesale infringement on the lives of residents, the safety of their children and a tearing up of the Air Quality Management study undertaken in 2010.
      What is very clear, however, is that Ewell Residents do not like being kept in the dark, not being consulted, or at least be properly informed and given notice that their street may be turned into an “A” road, and for want of a better phrase, being treated like mugs.
      Do the Councillors, and EVRA, agree that the residents they purport to represent deserve to be consulted now?

  10. The Kingsway and West street already have very narrow roads and footpaths which get clogged with school traffic . It would be safer for all if Covid safety money was spent on a park and school minibus drive from Priest Hill or drop off point in Sainsbury car park to reduce the number of cars that pollute this area ( not good for residents or children ) and the impossibility of social distancing when the children go to or return from school.This money wasting scheme will exacerbate the school and local residents problem .

  11. So, to make the pavements safer we will now see vulnerable road users like people with severe hearing and other disabilities now forced to share the road itself with buses !! How does that make anyone safer ? These Highways planners have apparently never heard of risk assessments – how will they mitigate those risks ?

    1. AND there are no pavements at key points along “rat-run” West St. It’s obvious that whoever is in charge of this “safety scheme” has never tried walking along West Street on a weekday morning or afternoon whilst doing the school run.

    2. And why are the residents of the village being denied access to their roads by car? Surely it is possible to have a system that allows the residents to move freely about THEIR village without having to go out on the bypass and back round thus adding to the pollution, traffic and time-wasting that will blight their lives and prevent them from comfortably going about their lives!!!!
      Who’s benefit is this scheme actually for???

  12. I agree with Linda. The roads in our borough are appalling, particularly the ones she mentions but there are lots of others. You are trying to encourage cycling and I am a keen cyclist but the state of the roads DISCOURAGES cycling. If nothing else, can the cycling ‘lanes’ be improved.

  13. This is a wholly ill-thought through, negligent and misconceived scheme. It is claimed that the “whole point” of the scheme is that “It’s vital that people are able to stay safe when cycling and walking, and to have the space they need to pass each other safely” when this scheme will achieve precisely the opposite in West Street for the most vulnerable residents of the Village, namely its children. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the effect of this scheme will be to divert traffic and turn West St into a ‘rat-run’. Increased traffic flow will increase the risk to the safety of children outside the Ewell Grove Primary School, thereby making it unsafe, particularly where there is no pavement at all adjacent to Tudor Close. Increased pollution from vehicle emissions will affect children in the playground and the residents of the care home opposite the school. West St has one of the worst maintained surfaces in the village. Lorries thundering up and down it, speeding cars that are not slowed down by the ineffectual hump outside the school all add to the obvious dangers and will damage homes and properties along what is supposed to be a Conservation Area. Who in their right mind could support such a ludicrous plan?

  14. Can someone identify precisely which businesses along this part of the High Street will benefit from this scheme? Costa Coffee? The opticians? The bookmakers? The numerous charity shops? The empty premises next to Greenfield, formerly occupied by Wilds Lounge Bar? The (ever empty) Star? The closed down Vape shop? The closed down Country Clothing store? Or the Dentist premises that have never opened in the last 8 years? Exactly who is to benefit from this scheme? Residents will continue visiting the Co-Op and Sainsbury’s, as they have to eat. The hairdressers will still have customers with hair, presumably. Am I missing the point here? Or is this to make for a more pleasant drinking environment outside The Famous Green Man whilst our children are left to soak up the traffic fumes in West Street? Enlighten me, please.

  15. Is the bus gate going to be between Cheam Road on the High Street but before Church Street/West Street Junction, ie. when you come down Cheam Road you cannot turn right towards the Spring Tavern but if I am coming down Church Street from the London Road end I can turn right at the end of Church Street on to the High Street or go straight ahead on to West Street? As long as bus gate is placed at Cheam road junction end and not at the Post Office end of the high street effectively turning Church Street and West Street in to rat runs then I think it is a good idea. Walking along pavements in Ewell Village is lethal and on a number of occasions I have had to step in to the road to allow children or elderly people pass by safely even without COVID. If this will take traffic away from Ewell Village it is worth trying out. It is not enjoyable walking anywhere along the high street as vehicles come way too close to the footpaths and we need to encourage people to get out of their cars and cycle / walk more. Please put a map where exactly the bus gate will be so people who understand better as they have not read the detail.

  16. I assume there are no road safety proposals to install a pavement on the south side of West Street alongside the Ewell Grove Primary School heading west towards Tudor Close?
    How much longer will children have to walk in the road either by crossing this new rat-run or by taking their chances as they walk to and from their school along the south side of West Street?

  17. By diverting village traffic flow down West Street, was any thought been given to measures to safeguard the elderly residents of the care home in West Street and the hundreds of children who have to cross West Street at Garbrand Walk to access their school and Ewell Grove?

  18. Email to Chris Grayling

    Sent: 16 July 2020 17:49
    To: GRAYLING, Chris
    Subject: Emergency-covid-19-active-travel-measures-ewell-village-high-street

    Dear Chris,

    This little bombshell has just landed to devastate Ewell Village.

    https://epsom.woimtg.com/2020/07/15/emergency-covid-19-active-travel-measures-ewell-village-high-street/

    What an absolute waste of taxpayer money. Have they properly assessed this.

    It only takes 1 delivery lorry to block Ewell High Street which in turn causes tailbacks all around.

    A better way to look is maybe stop parking (currently on one side of the road) then some space will be made to help distancing if they wish to do so.

    Here’s hoping you can get some answers from Surrey Highways.

  19. Reply from Chris Grayling
    From: GRAYLING, Chris
    Sent: 17 July 2020 07:32
    To:
    Subject: RE: Emergency-covid-19-active-travel-measures-ewell-village-high-street

    Dear Mr Warren
    Thank you for your message. I completely agree, and have just asked Surrey to reconsider this scheme.
    I will keep you posted.
    Best wishes
    Chris Grayling

  20. The timing of this announcement, two working days before the end of school term, is particularly unfortunate. It gives no time for the Ewell Grove School and its Governors to respond. Parents will disperse for the 6 week holiday . Incredibly convenient. I wonder what notice or consultation with our elected councillors has taken place, if any. Perhaps Mr Woodbridge can assist us on this point?
    Lots of questions, all unanswered. Public meeting anybody?

  21. This is only a temporary trial – why don’t you just wait and see what happens and if anything happens that is detrimental to our streets then it can be rectified. Yes, agree West Street needs proper pavements at the school end, the same can be said for Church Street. Ewell Village is just one big bypass, most traffic uses Ewell Village to get to Ewell West station direction over the bridge as a cut through – surely it is time to stop the Village becoming one big cut through and it is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed walking along narrow footpaths along the high street. I myself have come close to being pushed in front of traffic. People don’t like change but this is a trial – the problem with people is that they don’t read the details and reach an opinion before actually understanding the reasoning. Why on earth do you think Chris Grayling would understand what is best for residents when he is the one pushing for Heathrow Expansion which is NOT good for Ewell Village residents.

  22. Resurrection of the Kiln Lane link road would better serve alleviation of village traffic imho

    1. Yes resurrection of Kiln Lane Link road would be a good idea. I should imagine research has been carried out on the bus gate proposal and surely people would prefer to use local shops if it is safe to cross the road and use pavements as where currently you risk your life every time you have to cross Ewell Village High street. This is a local issue decided by local councillors, voted by Ewell Village residents. Has Grayling read the proposal? Yet again, I have to say that he does not care about Ewell Village Constituents – don’t forget he wants to burden us with ‘His’ Heathrow Expansion of 64 flights an hour flying as low as 2000 feet and dumping air pollution on us so why is he suddenly concerned about the residents when he clearly does not walk up and down the high street and does not have children risking their lives every time they have to walk to school. Leave it to the local people and councillors to decide not to the most inept politician this country has ever known and therefore we have to suffer the consequences.

      1. Unfortunately, leaving it to local councillors to do as they like without consulting, or even taking soundings from village residents and business owners, has got us in this mess. We are represented by some councillors who prefer to treat us like guinea pigs and experiment with road closures when they can’t even install a pavement outside the Primary School. Why is there a 30 mph speed limit outside Ewell Grove Primary and Nursery School with a narrow pavement, no pedestrian crossing and a road surface which resembles a dirt track in places? It’s time the EVRA donned its bright orange high visibility jackets and took a wander around the village. A good starting point, would be outside the Village school before they turn West Street into the new bypass for the A24.

    2. That was the conclusion of the Air Quality Management study undertaken by King’s College on behalf of the Epsom BC back in 2010. It advised against pedestrianising or blocking Ewell Village High Street and warned about displacement of traffic into residential roads. Any proposal to do so without the Kiln Lane Link required “careful consideration”. Nothing has changed. Our councillors have just managed to tear up that report under the guise of Covid-19 safety measures to secure 60 yards of pavement.

  23. I have lived in West Street for over thirty years. In places parked cars already make it impossible to pass in both directions at the same time. During school drop off and collection times the situation is even worse, and that is before this idiotic scheme starts diverting all cars into West Street to avoid the bus gate. As for The Mount, I defy anyone to drive from one end to the other during term time as there is little off street parking, and the road is a used extensively by students who drive to school. Heaven help us until this madness is over!

  24. Who is responsible for this ridiculous idea?

    As others have already mentioned, walking through Ewell and maintaining social distancing is a bit of a non-issue.

    I live in Ewell Village and even in normal times there are just not that many pedestrians around – plenty of traffic, but not busy pavements. Even before Covid-19 it was not unusual for me to walk from one end of the High Street to the other, without actually encountering anyone on my side of the street.

    It is true there are a few places where the pavements are narrow but people who shop in the village know this and accept that you might sometimes have to wait to get past, particularly if there is someone with a pushchair or small children, or a person on a mobility scooter. It is obviously a little busier at school drop off and pick up times but in general, the current situation has had a very limited effect on pedestrians in the village.

    The impact on West St, The Kingsway, The Mount and The Rise is a more concerning issue, potential bottlenecks during the day, seriously dangerous rat runs at night.

    Anyone who is familiar with accessing The Kingsway from Epsom Road will know that the traffic lanes here are narrow due to the fact that the trees come right to the edge of the roadway, and it already requires extra care to negotiate this section if there is a vehicle larger than a car coming in the opposite direction, anyone unfamiliar is a risk of causing a serious accident.

    I can only see this deterring people from visiting Ewell, not encouraging them. I pity the businesses who are trying to ride this out.

    If you agree this is a poorly thought out, totally unnecessary plan please do email your objections to
    [email protected]

    If we don’t tell them why it’s a bad idea, we can’t blame them if they go ahead with it!!!

  25. I have a question. If this scheme is set to start in September, when schools are due to return, and at the moment as far as I am aware back to full capacity (I work in a local Secondary school) with minimal if any socially distanced classroom measures, then why are the highways agency so bothered about social distancing in the high street? Either we are ALL following social distancing rules, or we are not following them, which is it? There is little point socially distancing some people and not others, as it will not lesson the dangers for our more vunerable residents at all, thereby making this Bus Gate a nonsensical and potentially dangerous nuisance!

  26. Please do not go ahead with Ewell Busgate.
    • Our local businesses will suffer.
    • Redirection of traffic through already congested junctions like the Organ Inn traffic lights will cause further traffic jams.
    • There is no evidence of social distancing problems for pedestrians as there is little foot traffic and those that use these pavements are polite and considerate.
    • Epsom & Ewell Council are likely to ignore calls for the removal of busgate after this ‘temporary’ installation.
    • Please use available funding to improve safety by repairing our third world quality road surfaces.
    • Please listen and take note of objections raised and do not go ahead with this installation.

  27. Are we living in a totalitarian country…………….Covid is now covering a multitude of sins , there is no justification in making such a ridiculous plan.

    This scheme is purely an egotistical waste of money with little benefits and NO consultation.

    My regular journey to collect my daughter travelling from near Ewell West station to Ewell West station will increase from 3.4 miles to 4.4miles as a return journey !!!! how is this saving the planet or anything else , besides all the extra time waiting in traffic jams.

  28. This is very concerning. Unless something is done to temporarily widen the footpath using plastic barriers parallel with the kerb, SCC are basically happy to say they’re trying to reduce traffic so you can walk in the road which is usually fine if you’re able bodied. What about those with hearing, sight and mobility impediments where you don’t have the ability to simply nip into the road if it’s clear to walk past someone at a safe distance? This is a lot of money to spend on something that appears so poorly thought through, and will result in rat-running, especially after the cancelled COVID-19 works in Reigate! For his failings, I’m glad our MP agrees this is a bad idea.

  29. We have lived in Mount Pleasant, Ewell Village for many years and know the local roads very well. The Kingsway, The Rise, The Mount and West Street on this proposed route are normally fully parked all along every day of the year, essentially making them single carriageways. To increase the present volume of traffic, for safety either there must be no parking on these roads or there must be contraflow traffic lights because there are blind bends in both The Kingsway and The Rise with the present parking. This scheme has obviously been imagined by those who do not live here and the implications not thought out by those just looking at maps. Also, emergency services and Council bin collections would have extreme difficulty in getting through because of single carriageways with two way traffic. Naturally there has been considerably less traffic during the lockdown but when the schools go back it will be totally different.

    If it is to continue into September the schools will be back and the doubtful risk of the few people walking along the High Street catching Covid 19 is nothing compared with the danger to hundreds of children at The Grove School, because the pavements in West Street are narrower than in the High Street and to give them the extra danger of increased traffic is nonsensical, apart from the extra pollution right next to the playground as well as John Gale care home for the elderly opposite. In addition, hundreds of boys at Glyn School use The Kingsway. It seems the attitude is ‘THE HIGH STREET’S SAFE – THE CHILDREN AND THE RESIDENTS DON’T MATTER’.

    In any case, the proposed scheme is ridiculous because the narrowest part of the High Street is the long stretch opposite the Post Office past the physiotherapist, which is quite terrifying to walk along at the best of times because there is absolutely no way to socially distance here, in fact there is almost no room for two people to pass, yet presumably this is not considered in the plan. Therefore Surrey County Council’s proposed scheme for safety in the High Street is laughable and without any meaningful purpose, only to create chaos and danger to life.

  30. This trial is welcome news…over recent years the village is constantly being used as a rat run for many non-residents of the village.I fully support this TRIAL. This can only make imo the village a nice place to live…maybe more residents should walk to station or walk there children to the nearby schools instead of making unnecessary short journeys. This would make people more fitter, healthier and reduce obesity in our population…! #walktoschool

  31. This is rather late since we have been distancing and taking daily walks since March.

    Oddly enough people seem to have coped well avoiding each other in all narrow footways, numerous of course, by crossing the road where it is obviously necessary, or holding back at a doorway for others to pass.

    It would be better if our government spent our children’s money more wisely, the bandwagon brigade will be all over this introducing hare brained schemes such as we currently see in Worcester park. That could now be renamed car park in my humble opinion.

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