Multi-million pound regeneration of Mitcham could start in November
Work on a £6.2m plan to transform Mitcham town centre could start as early as November following the results of a second public consultation.
Residents were asked for a second time in June for their views on the council’s plans to regenerate Mitcham town centre which include a new bus lane built through the middle of Fair Green.
Plans also include a permanent canopy for outdoor events, a coin operated toilet cubicle, a board walk around the Three Kings Pond, a newly landscaped Fair Green, the enlargement of the Sibthorp Road car park, additional lighting, seating areas and public art.
The results were published on Tuesday and indicate majority support for all of the council’s proposals with the least favourable a 'bus street' which has caused controversy since it was first proposed.
The 6.5m wide bus lane would extend London Road and cut across the Fair Green with the clock tower set to be repositioned to the east side of the green as the central feature of a newly landscaped garden.
Transport for London have stated the bus lane will bring an extra 6000 people into the town centre per day.
Members of the Mitcham Society and the Mitcham Cricket Green and Community Heritage (MCGCH) have said it would destroy the heart of Mitcham.
Alan Hutchings, Mitcham Society, said: "Mitcham Society have taken two surveys of shops and businesses in the Fair Green area, the first was of 71 people gave 80.2 per cent against the bus lane and the second of 84 gave 85.7 per cent against the bus lane.
"In addition to this at one of the One Mitcham market days a petition "against the bus lane" was signed by 120 local people."
Tony Burton, from MCGCH, said: "We think it would be irresponsible to proceed without thinking through the consequences and understanding the impact it would have not just on the Fair Green but the attitude it would send on protecting other greens in Mitcham."
Labour's Councillor Peter Walker, for Figges Marsh, said the plans would bring "life and prosperity" back to the area and urged residents to support it.
He said: "For a second successive occasion Mitcham residents have backed the radical re-design of central Mitcham. "This will have a dramatic effect on the number of customers using the shops on Fair Green, and will ensure some of the empty units, especially the old McDonald’s site, are likely to be opened up for trade."
Councillor Andrew Judge, Merton Council's cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration said: “We are delighted with the vast support that has been shown for our plans for the second time running in this latest consultation.
"I’d like to thank everyone who took part for their feedback which has helped us develop the scheme along the way.
“This £6m investment in Mitcham will help create a safer, more accessible and attractive town centre for residents and visitors whilst also supporting local business and giving the area the much needed boost it needs.”
The results will be considered at a meeting of the Street Management Advisory Committee on September 18 who will advise Coun Judge of their recommendations.
If approved work is expected to be completed in six phases starting in November 2013 with phase one, focusing on the Fair Green, starting in January 2014.
Work on the bus street would not start until January 2015 with full completion of the project expected by January 2016.
Factbox - percentage of people in agreement of main proposals
• Bus lane - 62 per cent
• Coin operated toilet - 68 per cent
• Clock tower garden - 86 per cent
• Fair green landscaping - 73 per cent
• Cycle lane through Majestic Way to Mitcham Eastfields station - 68 per cent
• Permanent market canopy - 72 per cent
• Board walk around three Kings Piece - 74 per cent
• Expansion of Sibthorpe car park - 65 per cent
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