Robin Hood Gate Closure Branded ' a Failure'

Council claim traffic reduction in the park minimal

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Wandsworth Council is urging the Royal Parks Agency (RPA) to open Robin Hood Gate to traffic again claiming that a new report shows that closure has had only a limited impact on traffic through the park.

At the same time the closure has led to a 60 per cent increase in traffic turning into Roehampton Lane from the A3 during the morning rush hour with a hike of 30 per cent in the evening peak.

Cabinet member for regeneration and transport Guy Senior urged the royal parks minister Lord McIntosh to order the gate's immediate re-opening saying, "The experiment has failed. It has shifted huge amounts of traffic onto the streets of Roehampton with only modest benefits within the park."

He was also critical of the report for not showing information on bus journey times saying that after an 18 month trial it is 'unthinkable' that data on the impact on public transport is unavailble. Mr Senior says that the bus operators are telling him they believe that routes 33, 77 and 265 have been taking up to 25 minutes longer during the peak hours.

The consultants' report showed that traffic using the remaining gates during the morning peak was down by just 2.5 per cent. Some of the road corridors in the park actually experienced an increase in traffic with a 50 per cent rise in vehicles using Kingston Gate.

In the afternoon rush hour, traffic has increased at three of the five other gates although overall traffic through these gates has fallen by 12.6 per cent.

Cllr Senior, branding closure a failure, added, "The closure of Robin Hood Gate had one aim - to reduce traffic in the park. The main beneficiaries would be park users. The RPA never showed any concern for the people of Roehampton who would bear the brunt of the displaced traffic."

The gate was closed on August 26, 2003 - initially for a period of twelve months. It was opposed by the three councils in the area - Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond. The review by the RPA's traffic consultants was considered by Wandsworth Council's regeneration and transport overview and scrutiny committee on February 15.

Supporters of the closure claim that the move has dramatically improved air quality and the general environment within the park.

February 18, 2005