Lewisham Council’s Supplementary Planning Document – a potential traffic disaster for Hatcham

The Town Hall released their draft supplementary planning document for New Cross Gate back in October 2019 – we’re still waiting for the consultation results which have been understandably delayed due to the Covid 19 outbreak. But I think it’s important to refresh residents’ memories of the horrors within the plans.

From the council’s SPD (draft) which you can download here

What worries us currently is the proposed changes as outlined in the draft Supplementary Planning document which can be downloaded here.

From the council’s draft Supplementary Planning Document (October 2019)

These changes propose the re-opening of Harts Lane and Hatcham Park Road to traffic from New Cross Road to service the new development called Hatcham works (currently where the Dreams and TK Maxx are located). They also propose a bus stand on Harts Lane and “secondary access” for cars into Hatcham works through Hatcham Park Road. If these plans go ahead, it will prove devastating for Hatcham in terms of air quality and noise.

What the Covid outbreak has shown us in recent weeks is the dire need for unpolluted residential streets. As laid out in the Guardian earlier this month, higher Covid-19 death rates are more prevalent in areas with high levels of air pollution. Pollution damages the lungs and heart which makes the virus far more deadly.

Nettleton Road and Harts Lane were closed to through-traffic back in 2004 after a resident-led campaign to improve the quality of life in the area. Longstanding residents have told us about how awful it was to live in Hatcham with thousands of cars and lorries using the residential streets as a shortcut to Bermondsey every day.

Supplementary planning documents “add further details” to Local Plans and are considered “material considerations”. These documents offer practical guidance on how a Local Plan can come into existence. The New Cross Area Framework Local Plan was approved by the council back in April 2019. Sadly, the Hatcham Society was not yet in existence back then and many residents weren’t even aware of the council’s plans and were not able to input their views during the consultation stage. The aim of the New Cross Area Framework is to promote the Bakerloo line extension into New Cross Gate and to create new housing around the expanded station alongside the promotion of a new supermarket. We see this as a positive change – Lewisham is in desperate need of genuinely affordable housing and better travel infrastructure which promotes fewer cars on the roads. But this should not come at the expense of ruining the lives of residents in Hatcham. We believe that any traffic coming into the new Hatcham Works should do so directly from New Cross Road and not quiet side streets.

It is highly doubtful that a Bakerloo line extension will happen within the next decade given the dire state of TFL’s finances that has seen a £1 billion bailout package from the government. It would be awful if these road changes are imposed on long before any development of the site.

The Hatcham Conservation Society provided a comprehensive response to the council’s supplementary planning document consultation months ago. We also gathered 111 signatures from residents against the plans of re-opening up any of our roads to extra traffic.

To keep updated about how the council responds, please sign up to our mailing list or join our Facebook group.

The Great Sinkhole of Hatcham

A small crisis has emerged under our feet this week.

The ‘sinkhole’ on May 19th, 2020

A miniature sinkhole has appeared in Hatcham Park Road, near the corner with Nettleton Road, raising questions over the council’s plans to potentially reopen Harts Lane and Hatcham Park Road to through-traffic. The hole could be linked to the major sewer line which runs down Hatcham Park Road and workers from Thames Water were seen examining the area on Monday.

One inquisitive neighbour, whose van ended up in a battle with the hole, said: “I can fit my whole arm in it”. The anonymous neighbour has kindly placed a cone on the road to alert drivers to the danger.

“S3” depicts the major sewer line servicing the area (image from Sainsbury’s application to develop their New Cross Gate site – please note, their application has now been withdrawn)

While the hole may seem trivial, it raises the question of whether our roads are capable of withstanding more traffic than what is currently present. The Hatcham Conservation society has been fighting the council’s plans to re-open Harts Lane to through-traffic from the congested New Cross Road.

The council released their New Cross Gate supplementary document in October, last year which included:

  • The recommendation of creating a “new circular route via Harts Lane”
  • The recommendation of creating a “secondary access to Hart [Sic] Lane via Hatcham Park Road – suitable for Bus traffic”

Harts Lane and Nettleton Road were closed to through-traffic in 2004 after a resident-led campaign and the Hatcham society are against the re-opening of any residential roads in the area which would see a huge increase in traffic into the currently quiet side-streets.

According to the council timeline, we were meant to see a response to the consultation on the council’s website by April 2020. But given the current situation, there has been a delay and it is not yet known when the results of the consultation will be released.

But it’s important to not be complacent – there can be no re-opening of any roads to traffic from New Cross Road in Hatcham.

Please sign up to our mailing list to keep up-to-date with the council’s consultation so you can help us oppose any negative changes to our roads.

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