Anger grows as council looks set to ignore Mitcham bus lane opposition


The proposed bus lane, designed to boost trade, has caused concern among many residents.


By Jacob Metcalf

Plans for a controversial bus lane in Mitcham are continuing despite growing opposition.

As part of the multimillion pound Rediscover Mitcham Project, the bus lane is designed to bring more people to the high street in an attempt to boost trade and improve an economy which has flagged over the past 25 years.

The council’s Street Management Advisory Committee (SMAC) originally rejected the plan to create the bus lane on Fair Green, urging the cabinet member for regeneration, Andrew Judge, to scrap the idea.

Many are concerned that the bus lane would take away valuable space from the Fair Green Market, cutting the historic Fair Green in half.

Councillor Judge said that despite some opposition, he would continue with the project.

“I have decided not to follow [SMAC’s] recommendation, because I believe that what is proposed is a balanced solution that takes into account the need for an active, vital and prosperous town centre as well as the need to preserve coherent green space,” he said in his decision notice.

“The proposed bus lane is central to the intended purpose of providing footfall to support shops. It is also supported by the overwhelming majority of those consulted (71%).”

Some residents claim that this statistic cannot be trusted, with complaints that badly worded questions misled readers and distribution for the survey was poor.

“Worrying that @merton_council claims that 71% people support a bus lane through #Mitcham refers to question where words ‘bus lane’ not used,” tweeted Mitcham Cricket Green.

Councillor Chris Edge, Merton Conservatives regeneration spokesman, will also formally call in the decision in light of the strong opposition from residents and the decision SMAC made.

A public meeting will be held this Thursday March 7 at Merton Civic Centre, at 7.15pm.

Photo courtesy of BuhSnarf, with thanks.  

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