Bitter divisions have continued to play out over controversial plans for a bus lane through Mitcham town centre.   

Last week the Wimbledon Guardian reported on a group of shopkeepers who had rallied to support plans for a bus lane through Mitcham Fair Green, which Merton Council has said would increase footfall by 6,000.

But campaigners opposing the bus lane have this week hit back branding the plans "damaging" and which "fundamentally misunderstands the value of the open and undivided Fair Green."

A spokesman for the Mitcham Society said: "The bus lane will cut across Fair Green pedestrian area, introducing traffic, noise and clutter into the heart of the town centre and damaging this unique fragment of common land, and registered Town Green, that connects Mitcham to its past and to its surroundings. 

"It will also undermine the benefit of the investment being made in Mitcham’s public realm - making the town centre less safe, increasing the risk of traffic accidents and restricting the use of Fair Green for events and other activities."

Results from the group's own poll of 71 businesses in the area, including London Road, Upper Green East, Upper Green West, Langdale Parade, Fair Green Parade and Clarendon Grove, claim 80 percent were against the plans, 14 per cent in support and 4 per cent undecided.

The group believes proper consideration has not been given to alternative solutions which could include relocating bus stops to improve pedestrian access to Fair Green and London Road.

Other options include making road junctions more "pedestrian friendly", which they claim would be less expensive.

But Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said he believes the plans will benefit the area by bringing greater footfall and shops to the area.

He said: "I think the majority are behind the proposals, particularly so far as businesses are concerned.

"The real purpose of this proposal is to try and revive Mitcham as a vital and vibrant town centre.

"It's about increasing footfall and attracting better shops."

A poll carried out by the Wimbledon Guardian online last week indicated split opinion on the plans.

Out of more than 1,500 respondents, 52 per cent said they were against the plans, 47 per cent were in support while one per cent said they didn’t know.

A second consultation on more detailed plans for the area is expected to take place later this year.