Graham Road is closed again to allow hotel building work
A street in Wimbledon has controversially closed again for up to 18 months, despite opposition from its residents.
Graham Road, near Wimbledon town centre, closed to traffic on Monday (October 5) to enable the building of a new Travelodge hotel in adjoining Hartfield Road.
It was originally closed on September 14, with residents saying they had no notice of the closure until signs went up giving them a few days' warning.
After residents held a street protest against the plans, the road was re-opened temporarily for around two weeks. Merton Council then undertook a traffic management assessment before deciding to shut the road again on Monday.
Since Monday's re-closure, six shipping containers have arrived to be used as office/welfare space as well as heavy construction vehicles and equipment.
While the council has pledged to review the closure in July 2021, when it is thought the main frame of the eight-storey building will be in place, there is a sign saying the road will be shut for 18 months (see picture above).
Residents are still fighting the closure plans and have asked Merton Council to consider making the street available for residents' parking only, as well as a potential one-way option.
Merton Council contacted residents following its assessment to say:
"When reviewing the options for traffic management we have taken into consideration:
• Comments received from local residents and local ward Councillors
• Access for pedestrians
• Minimising disruption to local traffic
• Safety for all residents and highway users
• Potential impact from diversions on local schools, nurseries, and businesses
• Environmental impacts including traffic vibration and emissions from HGV’s
• Potential damage to property and vehicles due to the widths of existing roads and current parking conditions.
"On completion of this review and in dialogue with local councillors, it is now clear that there is no option that removes all the inconvenience to residents of Graham Road.
"However, a full road closure has been deemed the safest option overall, whilst affecting the least number of local residents, road users and pedestrians. The safety of all road users and residents is and will continue to be the Council’s primary focus.
"The temporary closure will be in situ for a period of nine months when a full review will be carried out by Merton Council. This review will be carried out with the intention of re-opening of Graham Road. The period of nine months will allow the developer to substantially complete the structure of the building; upon which there will be the ability for the contractors to move welfare facilities and materials off the highway and into the site."
Graham Road closure sign - complete with spelling error
But resident Kate Turner said: "We do not agree with the Council's synopsis around safety but fervently hope that we are proved wrong and that no accidents occur by virtue of their ill-considered plan to close the road. Unfortunately it seems it will take for something to happen for the Council to listen to us.”
Fellow resident Melissa Harris added: "As a voter I feel that this council have shown disrespect bordering on contempt for the residents. It’s sad that as a tax paying, law abiding resident that we pay and are subjected to this."
Merton Council has been contacted for further comment.
October 7, 2020