Sutton North Lib Dem Councillors

Cllrs Ruth Dombey, Marlene Heron and Steve Penneck working hard for Sutton North all year round Learn more

Speeding traffic and heavy vehicles in Collingwood Road – Further update

by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 5 July, 2021

This web post gives an update on Heavy Goods vehicles, speeding traffic, and buses in Collingwood Road, and other issues.

One of our main concerns is about the number of Heavy Goods vehicles using the road despite the weight restriction.  We are grateful to the residents who record the reg. no and date/time of any large vehicles and pass the details to us.  There is a CCTV camera outside Collingwood Rec, and we are able to alert Council officers who check the CCTV footage and take action where they can.  We are concerned about the quality of the images which means it is not always able to identify number plates (the camera is not ne designed for this purpose), and recently had a fault which is now fixed.

A number of the HGVs are using the road as a cut through to the town centre, where there are a number of development sites.  We have also asked our planning officers to put restrictions on town centre developments to prevent construction traffic using the road.

Enforcing the weight restriction is a matter for the police.  The Council asked the Met Police Commercial Vehicle Unit, based in Merton, to undertake a patrol a few weeks ago.  This did not lead to any convictions, and we are following this up to understand the actions they took and we have asked for more patrols.

We have spoken to various people at the Council and other organisations about how we can enforce the HGV ban more effectively. In the long term the solution is for a ‘bus gate’ camera at the by-pass end of the road to fine HGVs which use the road unlawfully.  Councillors have agreed funding for a feasibility study to find out how this can best be done, and we are still waiting for this to be done.  We recently met with the Head of Highways and he’s promised to come back to us with some proposals.

In the meantime the Council continues to write to the companies involved, but unless we start to issue fines to HGV drivers, we don’t see how their behaviour will change.

Speeding traffic is also a major concern, given its impact on the safety of pedestrians and the close proximity to the park and the school.  We have conducted Community Speedwatches with the police in the past, whereby we use a hand-held speed camera to catch speeding motorists.  These have been suspended in the last year or so, because of COVID, but are now getting going again, and we have highlighted Collingwood Road as a priority.  We have only been allocated one slot in the coming weeks, and will continue to press for more in the future.

We have got approval for variable 20mph signs to be installed in Collingwood Road near the junction with Chaucer Road. This is a sign that illuminates – 20MPH Slow Down – when traffic exceeds the speed limit.  The signs were due to be operational a couple of months ago but have been delayed for technical reasons.  We are pressing for their early installation.

There was a serious collision at the junction with Chaucer Road a few weeks ago, and there are constant near misses at this junction.  We have asked Highways officers to produce a scheme to improve the safety of the junction.  This is likely to include removing a small number of parking spaces and/or bringing forward the Give Way lines to improve sight lines for traffic turning out of Chaucer Road.  We are still waiting for this, though we have asked for it to be given priority.

Residents have reported that the traffic lights at the by pass operate erratically and change phase too quickly causing frustration for motorists.  We have reported this to Tfl, but please also report any traffic light problems directly with them using their website.

There have also been reports of noisy cars being driven at speed at night.  Noisy cars (eg without silencers), and speeding cars, are matters for the police.  They should be reported using 101 or on-line.

We remain very concerned about the number of buses, especially out of hours, that use the road, and the speed at which they travel.  Go-Ahead continue to monitor the speed of their buses, and tell us that they only have one or two each month over the speed limit, and in these cases they take disciplinary action against their drivers.  We have asked them to confirm that this includes the out of hours buses, which seem to be the main problem, and asked whether the number of buses using the road at night has increased.  We have made them aware (again) of the disturbance night time buses cause.

The long term solution to this is to move the bus garage – the only one in South London located in a residential area, causing problems for residents of Collingwood and Bushey Roads – to the Kimpton industrial estate, or adjacent to a main road,.  The garage and site is owned by Go-Ahead and it is for them to agree to move.  When we spoke to them on this a few months back they were very reluctant and argued the lack of alternative sites. 

Site allocations are set out in Sutton’s Local Plan.  The current plan was adopted in 2018 and is now due for review.  As part of the preparation for that Plan, Sutton Council had discussions with all the major landowners, and the potential for development of their sites.  Sutton Bus Garage clearly has potential as a site for housing.  We have asked Sutton Council’s planning department to press forward with Go Ahead on this, especially as the Local Plan is now due for review. 

The hole outside No 216 shows the ineffectiveness of Thames Water.  The gulley drain here has discharged water for many years, some say decades.  The latest saga began in February when we reported it (again).  Investigations showed the fault lay in the pipework owned by Thames Water.  They initially refused to accept responsibility, and when they finally inspected the drain – which is a surface water drain, not foul sewage – said there was a blockage over 100m downstream, and they needed specialist equipment to clear it. 

The current situation and the attitude of Thames Water is outrageous. We have been waiting five months for them to clear the drain.  A council officer is phoning them nearly every day.  There are similar problems with TW in other parts of London, but that doesn’t solve our problem.

The issue has been escalated by Sutton Council within TW, who say they have given the job high priority and they will give us an early date for the drain to be fixed ‘within days’.  We shall see.  In the meantime the hole is protected by an inadequate barrier, and poses a safety risk.

Please continue to complain to TW contact centre (0800 316 9800) about the delay, and don’t believe them if they tell you – as they have some people – that this is down to Sutton Council – it is not!  TW was privatised in the 1980s, and does not seem to have any public accountability.

The whole of Collingwood Road between the railway line and the by-pass is due to be resurfaced this year.  This project has already been put back once, because of the TW hole, and is now rescheduled for August.  We hope it will not need to be delayed again.

As your local councillors, we understand the frustration of residents living in Collingwood Road and we are working hard to address all these issues.

Ruth, Marlene and Steve

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