Tag Archives: Bus lane

Why we are against bringing buses into Fair Green

We are in the middle of the second phase of the Rediscover Mitcham consultation.

Merton Council is asking people what they think of a whole raft of possible changes to the Fair Green area. A consultation document has been sent to all 22,000 homes in the CR4 postcode.

We welcome the activity we’ve seen so far to help regenerate Mitcham town centre. In particular we are very positive about efforts to reinvigorate the market and support shops and other local businesses that’s happening through the OneMitcham project. Visit OneMitcham on the web and on Facebook to learn more about what the project is doing.

However we have major concerns about one of central proposals that Merton Council seems very keen to push through as part of its plans.

The Council wants to build a road dedicated to buses (and usable by cyclists) through the centre of Fair Green. It says this will mean 5,000 to 6,000 extra pedestrian trips per day will be made into the Fair Green area.

We have done some research on these figures. Among the things we’ve discovered are:

  • The figures are in most cases four years old
  • The figures include both people boarding and leaving buses with more than half leaving Mitcham by bus. We wonder how much this  can really be claimed as ‘extra’ pedestrian trips

Please read our full report on the Mitcham Buses proposal.

We don’t doubt that Fair Green needs people visiting it in order to help it be more successful. But we think improving the range of shops and market stalls, and enhancing the open, car free aspect of Fair Green is the way forward.

We’ve heard plenty of people say Fair Green will be much less pleasant with a road through it, and very few have told us they want a bus street. Add to that the fact that we don’t think the figures stack up, and we can’t support the idea. 

We support the Mitcham Society’s campaign against the buses.

You might like to read a leaflet the Mitcham Society produced in April when the first Rediscover Mitcham consultation was taking place. In it the Mitcham Society  explains that the road would bring up to 90 buses an hour into the Fair Green and that its own survey of local businesses showed a massive 80 percent were against the idea.

You might like to go to the Council web site to see the Rediscover Mitcham consultation document and complete the survey so that your view gets counted.

Fair Green bus lane – we support the Mitcham Society

The Mitcham Society has published a helpful position statement on Merton Council’s proposals for driving a bus lane across Fair Green.

This is available here.

We are pleased to support it.

It is important that the value of Fair Green – which is part of a network of common land and open spaces that includes Cricket Green – is properly recognised.

The Mitcham Society also reports a survey showing that over 80% of traders and shops in the town centre oppose the bus lane proposals. You’ll find a report on this at the Local Guardian newspaper web site here.

We are keen to see other options to a bus lane being put forward by Merton Council when it consults on the next phase of the “Rediscover Mitcham” project in the next few weeks.

It is possible to increase the number of people visiting Mitcham without building a new road through its heart.

Bus lane plans will carve up Fair Green

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.