Merton councillors recently gave the green light to develop detailed designs for a new road across Fair Green for buses as part of the investment plans for Mitcham town centre.
This followed an earlier rejection of the bus lane idea by the council’s own Street Management Advisory Committee.
There will be further public consultation in the spring and we will be campaigning for a less damaging alternative. We believe there should be consultation on an option which improves the location of the existing bus stops and makes it easier to cross the road junctions and to get to and from London Road and Fair Green. These simple measures could bring many more people into the centre at much less financial and environmental cost.
Mitcham town centre already has a lot going for it. It is proving more resilient to recession than many and has only a handful of empty shops and an unusual concentration of successful banks and financial services.
We believe the key to its success lies in working with the community, local businesses and the market to boost local pride; manage the market stalls, shop fronts and green spaces; and promote more activities and events which bring people in. This is much more likely to be successful than a new road carving across Fair Green. The success of the Valentine’s Day event is just the beginning.
Fair Green is central to all this – it is the ace in Mitcham’s pack. This is not just another open space in a town centre but a unique fragment of common land that connects Mitcham to its past and to its surroundings. It may be bruised and battered and a little frayed around the edges but in Fair Green, Mitcham has something truly important. Let’s not kid ourselves its value will be realised by carving it in two and then adding some token patches of green space to its edges in compensation.
These are exciting times for Mitcham – let’s hope we can agree the best approach for its future.