Tolworth Broadway changes pushed through despite fierce opposition

The ‘Greenway’ scheme was initially approved in a neighborhood meeting last month but strong resistance, led by Tory councillors resulted in the call for a scrutiny meeting.

The Tories, who had managed to accrue nearly 500 signatures from concerned residents, were unsuccessful in their last-ditch bid to stop the project after losing the vote 5-4.

The opposition argued that constructing the walkway would be unsafe and cause traffic congestion.

Tory leader Howard Jones who was particularly worried about collisions between pedestrians and cyclists described the scheme as a “Lib Dem vanity project” that could end up with “people being killed”.

However officers from the Kingston Council and Transport for London defended the £2.6m project suggesting that that the “shared space” traffic proposals would encourage drivers, cyclist and pedestrians to exist “harmoniously” on the dual carriageway.

The heated debate lasted over four hours and councillor Vicki Harris told the committee: “It is innovative and different and because of that it is understandable that people have concerns but we have been scrutinising this project for over two years now.

“I cannot think of a scheme that has had more consultation and been looked at so thoroughly not just by us but by TfL and because of that I am confident that we have made the right decision.”

Cllr Jones remained unimpressed saying: “I do not agree that these schemes will change the behaviour of motorists.”

Bridgette Walker, of Ewell Road angrily accused the panel of ignoring residents concerns and the two parties of “trying to score points off one another”.

She said: “The people have spoken yet no one has bothered to listen to us. I have sat for well over four hours listening to them squabble and trying to score points off one another.

“Who is going to be held responsible when someone gets knocked down because when it does happen they should be up on manslaughter charges?”

Work is due to begin in early April in the hope it will be completed in time for this year’s Olympics.

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