Ewell Bus Gate Cancelled

On the 15th july we published a letter from Surrey County Council regarding Emergency Covid 19 Active Travel Measures in Ewell village and the installation of a Bus Gate.

We can now confirmed this has been cancelled after  a high level of feedback from the local community. Below are the  2 letters which we have been sent regarding the issue.

Here is the letter from Nick Healey, Area Highway Manager confirming this:

Dear Residents
 
We have received a high level of feedback from the local community regarding this particular scheme.  The majority of the feedback opposed to the proposed scheme to introduce a temporary bus gate in the High Street.  This would have prevented drivers using Ewell Village as a through route, and would have resulted in a substantial reduction in traffic in Ewell Village.  Nevertheless we understand residents’ concerns including the possibility of traffic diverting along routes through residential areas as well as the lack of local consultation due to the time factors the Government associated with this type of scheme.
We did however also receive a considerable amount of correspondence  supporting the scheme or at least the idea of reducing traffic through the village.
 
From the outset the local Councillors have been listening to all the views expressed to them and have been working behind the scenes with Surrey County Council (SCC ) to try and resolve as many of issues as possible which were brought to their attention.
Due to the fast moving nature of the project and the restrictive timescales, it has not always been possible to quickly update local residents.
 
We have therefore reviewed all of the feedback with County Cllr John Beckett, and it has been decided that we will not implement the scheme as it currently stands.
 
The feedback we have received has confirmed a desire to improve Ewell Village and so we will continue to engage with local stakeholders through Surrey County Council’s Local Committee for Epsom & Ewell.  It is possible that this may result in a different scheme being proposed in due course.  Please note there is no guarantee that funding would be available to promote an alternative scheme.
 
BACKGROUND
The background to this is that the Government has asked Highway Authorities to develop and deliver schemes to assist with social distancing, and to promote active travel (cycling and walking).  The Government is expecting Highways Authorities to take road capacity away from motorists and reallocate this for other modes of transport.  For example in Farnham town centre SCC have narrowed roads and widened pavements to provide more space for pedestrians to assist with social distancing and promote active travel. If you are interested there is more information about this on our website here:  www.ourroads.today/activetravel
 
The Government is encouraging Highway Authorities across the country to be radical, and we appreciate that this will cause concern for local communities.
Nevertheless we would like to implement schemes that are supported by local communities wherever possible, and to listen to any feedback that we receive when developing and implementing these schemes. We have heard clearly that the majority of the local community in Ewell Village does not want the proposed scheme to go ahead in its current form.
A number of people have asked why we have not consulted the community in the way that we normally would.  This is because the timetable set by the Government to deliver the first tranche of schemes was eight weeks from the date when funding was announced.  This did not give us time to undertake the kind of comprehensive consultation we would normally do.  Instead we have tried to use local networks to let as many people as possible know what we were considering, and thereby give as many people as possible the opportunity to respond.
 
If you have any further queries please could you direct them to [email protected]
 
Yours sincerely,
Nick Healey
Area Highway Manager
Surrey County Council

Brian Angus, Chairman of Ewell Village Residents’ Association has also sent out a letter yesterday 29th July regarding the Bus Gate but also the problems facing Ewell Village.Read His Letter Below 

‘Bus gate’ and the problems of Ewell High Street

Sharing residents’ concerns about Ewell High Street, EVRA carried out a study just before Coronavirus and the ‘Lock-down’ came into effect. We also knew residents had serious concerns about the effects of traffic with the problems of parking, speeding and poor air quality.

The study revealed that we have a total of 740m of shop window frontage with only 22% offering retail goods of which one third were food. Thirty six percent were inaccessible to shoppers being either vacant or offices or already converted to residential-use. These trends seemed likely to continue.

We could never have predicted the many and serious effects of the virus but virtually overnight these included the streets falling silent, the car parks emptying and EVRA losing its traditional means of communication via the Newsletter and our network of Road Stewards now subject to ‘Shielding’.

We understood then and we understand now, that any measures that affect High Street traffic create winners and losers, and deep concerns amongst traders and residents.

From a Government initiative came the proposal for a ‘Bus gate’ in High Street between the junctions of Cheam Road and West Street / Church Street. I (writes EVRA Chairman Brian Angus) hand-delivered a note to 65 High Street businesses drawing their attention to the proposals, offering to email them details and to hear their reactions.

EVRA met two weeks ago and recognised that the proposal presented opportunities but also some potentially-serious pitfalls. From our many emails, phone conversations, reactions on social media and our socially-distanced face-to-face conversations we knew the proposal had both supporters and others who could see a range of problems and side-effects.

As I write (on July 29th) I anticipate an announcement that Surrey County Council will withdraw the proposal.

In these seriously-difficult times EVRA continues to grapple with the problems facing our village and those who live, work, study, visit and play here. If you would like to join us, please get in touch.

Brian Angus
[email protected]
Chairman – Ewell Village Residents’ Association

Representing 2,300 households in Ewell village Listening, and getting things done – EVRA since 1927. find us on Facebook @ewellresidents

One thought on “Ewell Bus Gate Cancelled”

  1. What about the beggars in Epsom , one outside the pound shop one outside the post office and one outside the Ashley Center. Are we now a third word country.

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