We broadly welcome the proposals. Although it will be an expensive development, it is a development that could bring real benefits to Catford. The proposals increase the amount of public space and would make the centre of Catford more attractive for local residents and visitors as well as improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and improving bus times for buses that run through Catford.
In terms of this consultation Lewisham Liberal Democrats made the following recommendations to TfL to improve the proposals:
- TfL’s proposals will lead to a number of mature trees being felled – possibly as many as eight. We recognise that there is a commitment to ensure that there will be replacement planting of trees, however we would welcome far stronger assurances over future tree planting.
- The proposals will lead to an increase in traffic on Plassy Road due to the road becoming two-way. While welcoming this stretch of road having a 20-mph speed limit in the future, we hope further measures can be considered to mitigate the impact that the changes will have on residents living on Plassy Road, both in terms of air pollution and noise.
- The current proposals lead to the relocation of many bus stops. While recognising that some changes are inevitable, we hope that TfL will continue an extensive dialogue on this issue to ensure that as much as possible there is minimum inconvenience for bus users and especially disabled residents who need to access Lawrence House, Broadway Theatre and the Salvation Army citadel on Brownhill Road, along with other venues in Catford. Future consultation should also be undertaken with residents of Stannard Court.
- We believe it is highly regrettable that the consultation proposals are not connected to the delayed proposals by Lewisham Council to provide improvements to the area around Catford and Catford Bridge stations, which involve safer walking and cycling routes with a double-width pavement along a stretch of Catford Road, a wider underpass under the South Circular Road and two river decks across the River Ravensbourne. It is a seriously missed opportunity that the proposals in this consultation are not being co-ordinated with these proposals by Lewisham Council.
- The specific changes that will take place in Catford town centre, in the area between Lawrence House and the Town Hall, are not set out in detail in this consultation, however it is vital that the public space created by re-routing the South Circular truly ensures that the town centre is a greener area, involving new tree planting, plants and grass. Serious consideration should also be given to ensuring that natural drainage is improved. It is vital that the road changes lead to not only a real net increase in tree planting, but also a significant net increase in green space in Catford town centre – mitigating not merely the removal of current street trees but also the removal of a section of open space at St Dunstan’s College Jubilee Ground on Canadian Avenue.