Cancel ‘Active Travel’ Scheme in Lower Sunbury

This petition made change with 1,012 supporters!

Central Government has asked local authorities to introduce social distancing measures in towns and retail areas, to try and increase the amount of usable space in town centres for cyclists and pedestrians. This is in an effort to try and restart the economy in line with the social distancing guidelines. The main emphasis from Government is to ensure that social distancing can be maintained, and that congestion is secondary.

As a result Surrey County Council (SCC) has put forward proposals to pedestrianise parts of Sunbury. Draft plans set out road closures and bus gates in seven areas of Lower Sunbury with the aim of removing east to west traffic in the area (the secondary aim of the idea proposed by Central Government).

There has been no consultation with local residents on the impact of closing roads. SCC has said ”Unfortunately, it is not possible to consult with all affected residents about these temporary emergency active travel schemes due to the tight timescales set by the Government. However, the views of residents will be noted and taken into consideration with any tweaks to the current pilot schemes. The closures are being designed so that they can be changed, adapted and/or removed in response to how people actually use and respond to the scheme. Please note, nothing is set in stone, we are still developing the proposals and all feedback will be taken into consideration as we move towards implementing a scheme”.

This petition proposes to entirely scrap this pilot scheme, and further proposes formal consultation with the local residents most affected by road closures in this residential area. This consultation should be based on data gathered regarding the PRIMARY government issue of social distancing in the area, and secondarily the traffic / cycle flow throughout the Lower Sunbury area.

SCC has further communicated that “As a result of the reduced traffic levels through Lower Sunbury, we anticipate that the area will become a more pleasant and welcoming  environment for both visitors and residents, and more attractive for residents to walk and cycle within the area. In addition, we would hope that Lower Sunbury would benefit environmentally from reduced noise and pollution”. This petition supports reduced noise, pollution and traffic, but believes that this road closure scheme will negatively impact the daily lives of residents.

As traffic management is not the stated primary purpose of this scheme, this justification should be a secondary consideration to the management of post-lockdown social-distancing. There is currently no published data on how this proposed scheme will positively influence this primary aim.

In summary, whilst we believe intentions are good, the inception and execution of this scheme have been unilateral and very poor. We demand the immediate cessation of these road closure schemes in Lower Sunbury, and a data-led consultation on the best way to promote social distancing, and secondarily traffic management (should the data demonstrate that these are genuine issues in this area).

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