South Row closure – previous note from BCER Board
Thank you to everyone who has contacted the office over the last week, following the closure of Morden Road after Lewisham Council’s sudden blocking of South Row to through traffic using emergency Covid-19 powers. As you might expect there has been a range of views on the best way forward, and it is useful for the Board to have a sense of local opinion BCER is in regular touch with both Lewisham and Greenwich Councils to share what is happening on the ground to try and improve the scheme as it stands, and to seek to influence the longer term outcome of what is supposed to be a trial period. The Board hopes that communication with both the local authorities and others affected by these changes will improve over the coming months.
Some have understandably raised concerns about the closure of Morden Road. The Board had to determine extremely quickly how to respond to the South Row closure in the best interest of the Cator Estate and as many of its residents as possible. This involved considering the need for easy circulation in and out of the Estate with protecting its quiet nature and avoiding our residential roads from becoming a noisy and potentially dangerous rat run. The Board was also mindful of the impact a significant increase in traffic could have on road maintenance. On balance the Board believed that the safety and integrity of our roads had to take precedence over access in the short term, inconvenient though we recognise this might be.
The present position
The Board therefore decided, as an interim measure, that Morden Road should be closed to prevent traffic using it to bypass the closure of South Row and that Pond Road should be more strictly controlled during rush hour, with access for permit holders and emergency vehicles (police, fire and ambulance) only. We will also work to improve signage stressing that there is no access to the Heath (for non permit holders) from the Lee Road side and better explaining that these are private roads. We hope that as satellite navigation systems pick up the South Row closure, and local traffic becomes used to alternative routes, it may be possible to change this approach. We would stress therefore that this will be kept under review, particularly as traffic flows potentially rise in the autumn when schools return.
Going forwards, BCER will investigate more permanent options, including the costs, benefits (including better control of traffic and easier access into and out of the estate for residents) and disadvantages. These might include automatic barriers of some kind or improved staffing of gates. Once an initial evaluation has been done, the Board will look at how best to seek the views of shareholders, residents and other interested parties. We would hope to be in a position to do this in the autumn. In the meantime we shall keep the developing position under review and keep residents updated.
If you haven’t yet seen the Lewisham Council plan and commented please go to the link below: