Controversial £3.1m Tolworth Greenway “Is Not Justified”

The controversial £3.1m Tolworth Greenway was officially opened on Thursday morning at an official ceremony on a blustery Tolworth Broadway.

The broadway, which received over £1m of funding from Kingston Council, has been heavily criticised with the safety, cost and aesthetics of the brightly coloured path coming under fire from members of the local community.

Golsa Ameri, of the Scope Charity shop, felt the project was a waste of money. She said: “I don’t think it’s fair, we pay taxes, they could have done something else with the money, perhaps given it to the NHS.”

Ameri also explained the basic safety issues of the new design, which incorporates several raised green parts of road for crossing but fewer lights.

She said: “These are confusing, what are these crossings? Some cars they stop, some they don’t.”

Karl Chambers, from the Superfish takeaway restaurant, echoed these sentiments saying the he felt that “accidents are going to be imminent” and “the total cost is not justified”.

The event, held on the eighth floor of Tolworth Tower, was attended by prominent members of Kingston Council including Mayor Penny Shelton, Councillor Liz Green and Councillor Rolson Davies.

The Mayor gave an opening address to the crowd, stating that the new greenway was necessary because of the “quality and vitality of business in Tolworth Broadway declining”.

Roy Thompson of RBK  described the project as “different, challenging, green,” and the response from local businesses reflected this sentiment.

According to Mr Thompson, the project, which was approved in November 2012, is a “catalyst for improvement and future opportunities”.

Spanning the length of the broadway and across the A3 roundabout, the project has removed the barriers from the middle of the Broadway and opened the road for pedestrians to cross freely at a number of points.

The greenway has also rendered the underpasses irrelevant by creating an above ground method of crossing the A3 roundabout, adapting the existing bridge into a shared path for cyclists and walkers.

David Rowe of Transport For London, who worked in conjunction with Kingston Council on the project, said that the project was part of Boris’ idea of “transforming Londoners’ everyday experience of how they get around the city”, and in this case “transforming people’s experience of how Tolworth feels”.

David West, Urban Designer for the Egret West, who conceptualised the project, said that his first impression when seeing Tolworth was “why doesn’t anyone inject some green into this place?”

The Tolworth Greenway was inaugurated on Thursday
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