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Cash for improving Tolworth's streets lost
The majority of a £50,000 grant set aside for a walking improvement scheme in Tolworth has been lost after residents rejected plans Kingston Council officers had spent months drawing up.
Three of the four proposals for works on Thornhill Road were voted down at a public meeting at the Cornerhouse in Douglas Road last Thursday amid complaints that not enough was being done on pavements.
The Transport for London (TfL) money would have been spent on things like making junctions easier to cross and extending double yellow lines.
Rosina Howe, 74, of Douglas Road, said the plans did not address residents’ concerns.
She said: “[Officers should] take a consensus of opinion – what’s most important to you in your area and forget all the fripperies, and just get a basic pattern set down first.
“For me pedestrian safety is pavements. This has been a bugbear for a long time around here.”
Tolworth Councillor Vicki Harris said: “If we don’t do those projects it’s only fair that TfL get the money back to re-allocate it next year.
"But TfL don’t give us money to resurface footpaths, unfortunately. I can’t imagine TfL ever being freer with money.”
Coun Malcolm Self said: “With hindsight I probably would have done this scheme differently. What we haven’t done is just plough ahead regardless.
“I think there are lots of merits in the scheme, personally. It didn’t seem that controversial to me, but that’s how things go.”
Plans to widen the traffic island at the junction of Red Lion Road and Thornhill Road were approved, but pavement widening where Thornhill Road joins Hook Road was rejected.
Officers are now considering installing a bollard at the Red Lion Road junction to prevent cars and vans driving on to the pavement.
The installation of raised crossing areas at Douglas Road, Cotterill Road, and Ellerton Road junctions, and the extension of double yellow lines on other side roads were also thrown out.
Raising the roadway at junctions could have made things easier for people with reduced mobility.
Officers spent 126 hours drawing up the plans starting in the middle of last year – which the council said had cost the equivalent of £3,930 in wages.
Another £1,350 was also spent on officer time and distributing the consultation letters.
Only 54 out of 426 consultation forms were sent back last November, with just 27 in support.