Yesterday a large articulated lorry became stuck in Gates Green Road, and for most of the day, outside Wickham Common School. The driver seems to have realised too late that he was never going to fit down a country lane.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in the Wickham Common area. Previously a street tree was severely damaged by a lorry leading to the Council’s legal team pursuing the company responsible. Also, Layhams Road and North Pole Lane have suffered from errant HGVs; a problem that appears to have been on the increase, partly because some haulage firms try to cut costs by using satellite navigation maps designed only for smaller vehicles.
The Council has previously worked with mapmakers to ensure that roads unsuitable for HGVs are marked as such in satnav data, but clearly more needs to be done. We are now taking the issue up with the Council’s highways officers, including improving the signage at vulnerable junctions such as Gates Green Road/Croydon Road, Kingsway and others.
After many years of lobbying by residents and your local councillors, we can now confirm that work to install the new crossing on the Croydon Road, near the top of Hartfield Crescent, will commence on 6th November.
Transport for London (TfL) are also taking the opportunity to resurface the stretch of Croydon Road between Prestons Road and Baston Manor Road, so there will be short-term disruption.
The top of Hartfield Crescent will be closed from 6th November until 22nd December. Parts of Croydon Road itself will be closed during that period between the rush hours (9:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Saturday) and also between 8pm and 5am every night from 13th November to 4th December.
While this will cause inconvenience it will be worth the wait for residents and their children who will now be able to cross this major road in safety.
Plans have been put forward to erect a mobile phone base station at the junction of Gates Green Road and Kingsway. The site – the small triangle of green where the two roads meet – has been selected by contractors working for Vodafone, and seeks to upgrade coverage in the area to the modern 4G standard.
However, consultation has been poorly carried out so far, and test drilling has taken place in front of bemused residents – confusion added to by false claims the work was being done by the council.
Now a ‘planning application‘ (though technically a formal consultation) has been submitted and residents have until 18th June to make representations. We are certainly not opposed to an improvement in infrastructure in the ward; however, although the mast itself is in the style of a tall lamppost, the four accompanying equipment cabinets may well prove the unsightliest aspect. Apart from the significant ‘footprint’, the boxes will take up a prominent place in the street scene, with little in the proposals to address this.
UPDATE 24/6: The application has been refused by the council.
Following a number of meetings with your local councillors and residents in the West Wickham Common area, Transport for London (TfL) have prepared a number of options for providing a pedestrian crossing near the junction of Hartfield Crescent and the A232 Croydon Road.
There are two options favoured by TfL, both include the widening the top of Hartfield Crescent where it crosses the Common, both for highway safety reasons and to provide a formal pedestrian footway up to the Croydon Road and along the opposite side of that main road.
However, these options involve some degree of ‘land take’ from the Common, which is the responsibility of the City of London. At the City’s West Wickham Commons Consultative Committee in January, Cllr. Neil Reddin and representatives from the West Wickham Common Residents Association saw the plans and made various comments, all generally in favour of at least one or more of the options.
A decision to agree, or otherwise, the loss of common land must now be made by the City of London’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee on the 9th March. One point that was made at the consultative committee was that there have been other (rare) examples of such land take being permitted in the interests of road safety on other areas under the ownership of the City.
After nearly a year of work by your local councillors, public consultation is expected to begin shortly on proposed new parking restrictions in the vicinity of Wickham Common Primary School, including the junction of Gates Green Road and Hartfield Crescent.
The proposals will include ‘zig-zag’ markings around the corners of the junction and part-time parking restrictions along sections of Gates Green Road to allow traffic to pass, hopefully tackling the ‘gridlock’ that currently occurs during school opening an closing times.
Draft plans were made available by your local councillors at the Wickham Common Residents Association AGM where initial comments were made and will be passed to the highway engineers.
If the consultation results are favourable then work is planned to be completed in time for the start of the Autumn term.
Serving Hayes, Coney Hall, West Wickham Common and Hayesford Park