Vintage Kingston: Victory for shopkeepers as Tolworth bus lane scrapped

Vintage Kingston: Victory for shopkeepers as Tolworth bus lane scrapped

Vintage Kingston: Victory for shopkeepers as Tolworth bus lane scrapped

First published in News

The controversial Tolworth bus lane was to be ripped out and restored to normal traffic use 25 years ago this week.

Councillors had conceded that the bus lane, which led to howls of protest from shopkeepers and lengthy jams along Ewell Road, was a flop.

All that could be said in favour of the lane, which ran along part of Ewell Road and Tolworth Broadway, was that it provided a handy route for emergency vehicles in addition to buses.

In deciding to scrap the bus lane, members of Kingston’s highways committee had said that they were certainly not against the idea of bus lanes in other parts of the borough.

The lane, which was introduced in 1986, became a target for shop owners and managers along Tolworth Broadway.

They claimed that the traffic jams which it caused in the one lane for cars, vans and lorries put people off using the shops.

London Regional Transport objected to the lane’s removal on grounds of bus speed and financial cost.

Tolworth South Residents’ Association pressed for its retention for emergency vehicles, and London Regional Passengers’ Committee attacked Kingston Council for suggesting that the bus lane should be ripped up.

But the police, shopkeepers and the Surbiton Chamber of Commerce all petitioned for the lane’s removal, and their arguments won the day.

One of the factors which swung the case against the bus lane was the arrival of Marks and Spencer in the former Fine Fare building, at the A3 end of Tolworth Broadway.

Its popularity had led to an increase of traffic through the area, the Comet reported.

In more recent times, a painted bus lane in Ewell Road has caused controversy because drivers turning left from King Charles Road have been caught by CCTV cameras and fined for driving through it.

50 YEARS AGO: April 1, 1964

The generally optimistic outlook in industry was reflected in the continuing buoyancy in demands for labour in the Kingston area. But although the number of unemployed had altered little, it was a cause for concern that the number of elderly people unable to find jobs kept increasing, the Comet reported 50 years ago.

25 YEARS AGO: April 7, 1989

Surbiton maths prodigy Ganesh Sittampalam received his official award from the Guinness Book of World Records after becoming the youngest child ever to pass A-level maths. The boy genius sat his exams in maths and further maths in June 1988 at the age of nine years and four months,  gaining A grades in both.

10 YEARS AGO: April 7, 2004

The Surrey Comet was voted one of the best weekly newspapers in Britain. It was runner-up in the paid-for weekly, over 64 pages category at the Newsquest annual editorial awards. Editor Sean Duggan said: “The Comet’s hard-working team of journalists strives to produce the most informative paper.”

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