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Bus and road surface issues on Cheltenham and Ivydale Road

Below is an anonymised version of an email from Victoria (one of my fellow Ward Councillors) to a resident of our ward who contacted us about their concerns regarding the road surface and speed of buses on Ivydale Road. This is also an ongoing issue for a number of people on Cheltenham Road too. The email gives a full and detailed account of this issue and sets out a way forward. Clearly it is now important that we move this issue on by putting together a firm set of actions at the forthcoming Nunhead and Peckham Rye Traffic and Transport sub-committee meeting on the 10th February. More details on this to follow.

Read on to find out more:


Dear ------

I understand that you have also contacted my fellow councillors about this matter - I am cc'ing them in so that they are aware of the latest progress on this issue which I have been dealing with.

I live at 340 Ivydale so am very aware of the problematic road surface and also the impact the buses have.

I guess there are really three different issues with the road but all connected - the road surface, the traffic calming measures and the impact of the buses.

I'm not sure how long you have lived on Ivydale but it's probably two years ago now when residents were surveyed about changing the previous traffic calming measures to the current ones. About 70% voted in favour of change and as a result the old bumps were taken out and the pinch points were put in. The whole process was very delayed and communications with residents were consistently poor. I was torn about the new scheme but the old scheme didn't stop traffic driving over 20mph so on balance I thought we had to try something new. Work on the scheme suddenly ended in early April last year without works being completed. One key part of the scheme that wasn't delivered was the resurfacing of the road. From the letters I received from the council (last one dated March 2010) there was no indication (in fact every indication) that the work would be completed. After being elected in May I have chased to get these works done but there has not been any money remaining to finish the scheme or even resurface the road. The budget for the next financial year will be set in February so I'm now trying to push as hard as possible to get some money for Ivydale. I'm hoping that I will get some feedback next week.

In the meantime, we managed to get some temporary repairs to the speed ramps done a few days before Christmas and the ramps will need a more permanant fix to stop them subsiding/disintegrating. Test holes should be dug very soon so the council can work out how best to repair them. This week I have also reported the new pot hole [on this part of Ivydale Road] and also the holes on the raised ramp with Merttins Road.

Just to quickly say that we managed to secure funding for Cheltenham Road to be resurfaced in October and this work should happen in February or March.

It's clear that many residents are not supportive of the measures that have been put in place and this will be the case even if the pinch points are made 'good' in the coming weeks. I've asked officers to attend a community council meeting in February which I hope that residents will also attend. Once this is finalised I will let you know and would encourage you to attend. With three quarters of the council's highway spend dependent on the central government grant to Southwark (and you'll probably be aware that we received one of the worst financial settlements before Christmas) I think we need to be realistic about removong traffic calming measures that were installed less than a year ago on this wishes of the majority of residents. That's not to say residents who are unhappy won't be listened to but we may have to be realistic about what is possible. Your suggestion about 'redesigning' is probably something worth raising at the February meeting.

On the buses, we are in regular touch with the local Assembly Member Val Shawcross about the speed at which the drivers drive and about the frequency of the service. The 343 has huge capacity issues from Rye Lane onwards, through the Aylesbury etc. which is why the buses are double deckers and why there are so many. The solution might be cutting the route at Rye Lane/Nigel Road with only some double deckers coming this far and having additional single deckers - I don't know but I hope that Val will be at the February meeting to see what can be done. I know she met residents about the 343 service just yesterday evening but she came across very divergent views - people in Peckham and the Aylesbury desperate for more buses, people round here with concerns for the impact on the roads and the noise.

Hope that this is a good update for now - I'll be in touch again shortly and please visit for more updates.



  1. Hi Victoria

    Your reply makes some interesting points.

    1) The public consultation conducted in January 2009 "was very delayed and communications with residents were consistently poor."

    I agree with this statement. I took the trouble to reply in a long letter yet nothing of what I pointed out was taken into account.

    a) The existing road surface needs renovating and/or improving in order to minimise the vibration suffered by our dwellings due to heavy vehicles.

    This was not done. Although the council clearly stated the road would be resurfaced nothing was done.

    Where has the money put aside for this gone? How can the council hold a "public" consultation state what it is going to do and then renege on that commitment?

    b) There is a major problem with 343 buses, that run through the night, driving over the existing traffic calming bumps at speeds which cause our house to shake. The road surface itself has suffered bad subsidence due to the amount of heavy traffic that runs over it.

    Why when the council was made aware of the problems created by speed bumps did they then go on to install tables which exacerbated the problem? Should not the local residents been informed that installing the tables may result in worse problems with vibration?

    2) "the ramps will need a more permanant fix to stop them subsiding/disintegrating. Test holes should be dug very soon so the council can work out how best to repair them"

    This will be a waste of money as these ramps have been a disaster for those living near them and cause more problems than they solve. Before anything is done to repair these ramps those that will be affected must be consulted. I do not wish to see more of our council tax being wasted on measures that do not work.

    3) "I know she met residents about the 343 service just yesterday evening" - reference to Val Shawcross having a meeting last week regarding the 343 bus route

    Why are local residents affected by the 343 route made aware of such meeting? These buses have been an ongoing issue for many years yet we are not kept informed about meetings that we can attend.

    Ivydale and Cheltenham Roads have been gradually falling apart over many years. The measures taken by the council have only made matters worse.

    These roads have in excess of 500 bus journeys per day, more that 3000 buses per week. That is equivalent to 1 bus every 3 minutes twenty four hours a day. Why has the council not made these roads fit for that purpose? If they are not prepared to do that then they should decrease the number of buses using the route.

  2. I fully agree with the above comments, these mounds/tables/humps/pinch points need to be removed asap.

  3. On the other hand (as they say) I use the 343 a lot starting at Solomons Passage. It is a brilliant bus precisely because it is frequent and runs through the night. It is also my only means of getting to New Cross and onto the Overground there. Turning it round at Nigel Road would not be helpful at all. If the traffic calming measures on Ivydale Road were put in after consultation with residents then maybe the silent majority likes them.

    The underlying cause of the problem is traffic rat running across to Brockley Cross which is the only way to cross the railway line. Why not close Linden Grove to through traffic. Cut it where the road narrows by the zebra crossing and that would cut off a lot of the traffic that wants to belt down Ivydale Road.

    Whatever you do will annoy someone of course

  4. Hi Sally

    I am sure that no-one is going to stop the service to New Cross. I also use this service.

    However as a resident on a narrow residential street that has to put up with with over 3000 buses per week thundering down it 24 hours a day we are only asking that the road is in good repair and any traffic calming measures put in are fit for purpose.

    The current state of the road and raised tables are causing vibration which intrudes on our home life and is potentially damaging to the adjacent houses.

    The "silent majority" you refer to can judge for themselves how successful the traffic calming measures have been, as we have had to live with them for over a year.

    The underlying problem is not the "rat run", displaced traffic from our road will only go elsewhere to be someone else's problem. The problem is state of the road and no, as yet, successful way of limiting traffic speed beyond putting big bumps in the road that cause major issues for local residents.

    As to annoying people if the service is cut you and others will be annoyed, yet if things are left as they are a lot of residents on Cheltenham and Ivydale are annoyed. I feel sure there is something that can be done to satisfy the majority of parties involved.


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