My name is Miles Macleod. I have lived in Weybridge
I chair Portmore Park and District Residents
Association (PP&DRA), and I am presenting this evidence on
behalf of the PP&DRA committee.
PP&DRA is an association of residents interested in
local heritage, quality of life and community. Our
association is not politically affiliated.
Most local residents who have spoken with the
committee about the Walton Bridge plans are opposed to the
scheme. In an almost unanimous show of hands at our AGMs in
2004 and 2005, around sixty people expressed their
opposition to the plans for the current scheme, particularly
the cloverleaf junction.
Overview of PP&DRA objections
We welcome a new bridge, but it must be a scheme that
fits in with the local environment, preserves riverside
amenity and avoids unnecessary damage.
PP&DRA objects to the proposed bridge and junction
scheme, and the compulsory purchase of land, on the
Flawed consultation and
The SCC consultation was fundamentally flawed, had little
initial publicity in Weybridge, and has delivered invalid
Environmental damage and
loss of amenity:
The proposed bridge and junction would cause irreversible
local environmental damage and loss of riverside amenity at
Cowey Sale. This open space beside the Thames is highly
valued by residents and visitors. The ‘exchange land’ is
not at all equivalent.
Junction design and traffic
The proposed additional slip-road threatens to invite
additional rat run traffic along Walton Lane (Weybridge),
into narrow traffic-calmed residential roads.
Flawed consultation and process
We would expect a consultation to inform, invite
debate, and use the findings to generate the best solution.
In contrast, SCC first generated a preferred traffic
engineering solution, then promoted it in an exhibition, and
subsequently via leaflets.
The SCC exhibition of bridge and junction designs in
March 2003 received little publicity in Weybridge. Many
residents, including most of our committee, were unaware of
are told there were notices in the local press, but the most
visible publicity was via signs on the bridge approach
roads, which attracted passing motorists.
responded? We have seen no data on how many of the 1523
questionnaire responses were from local residents, who use
the Cowey Sale riverside open space, and how many from
motorists who commute via Walton Lane and the A244.
I saw the exhibition sign while driving along Walton Lane,
and stopped to look. The exhibition 'showcased' (SCC’s
word) a series of nice looking pictures of bridge and
junction designs. It was a beauty parade of engineering
solutions, presented appealingly. I was guided around by
someone enthusiastic and personable, who answered my
questions, and nodded when I said something positive.
ten minutes, my preference was for the tied arch design,
with the cloverleaf junction that would get rid of the
Walton Lane queue for Walton Bridge. The ‘beam and slab’
design sounded drab, some others seemed bizarre. The
exhibition people were very keen for me to complete the
questionnaire immediately, but I persuaded them to let me
take one away.
later reflection I began to consider the actual scale of the
bridge and junction, and its impact on the local
environment. And my views changed. Ideally I wanted a more
elegant version of the beam and slab design, with a small
and simple junction – something that fits in with the local
exhibition had not made the environment implications of the
different designs clear, yet had asked visitors to state
their preferences there and then.
has subsequently used the results to claim ‘overwhelming’
popular support for their design.
Environmental damage and loss of amenity
The SCC design would have a severe negative impact on
the local environment. It would dominate this historic part
of the Thames, and permanently change its character.
The tied arch bridge would be 23.5 metres (77 feet)
high, drastically larger than any previous bridge, visually
intrusive and quite out of keeping with its surroundings.
The landscape around the proposed cloverleaf junction
would be “dramatically and irreversibly changed”.
area of Cowey Sale, around Walton Bridge, is cherished as
safe, green, riverside open space.
summer weekends, thousands of people use this space. On
other days, hundreds of people use it. Elderly people drive
there and park, families enjoy the riverside, children cycle
As an example, on Saturday 15 October 2005, around
2pm there were around eighty cars in the Cowey Sale car
park. There were another thirty cars parked below and around
the bridge itself, between Walton Lane and the marina.
SEE THE PICTURES
is currently a safe and tranquil area, with a cafe and no
speeding traffic. (See pictures in Document 16/1/2)
proposed scheme would cause a severe loss of amenity –
tranquil riverside replaced by sterile urban roadside,
slip-road embankments, traffic and concrete.
The southern slip-road
would occupy much of the current amenity area
The northern slip-road
would cover a Site of Nature Conservation Importance
A stretch of riverside on
either side of the bridge would become busy roadway
Parking areas around the
bridge would be lost
Two huge embankments would
dominate the floodplain – 6.2 metres high, compared with
the 3.8 metres of the current single embankment
proposed landscaping and environmental mitigation would
create something more like a motorway services than a
pleasant accessible riverside.
parcel of ‘Exchange Land’ being offered to compensate for
the compulsory purchase loss is simply not equivalent:
it is not riverside land
it is remote from the area
people want to use.
SCC’s intention to provide two slip-roads in a greatly
enlarged junction with Walton Lane (a minor road) is
unjustified. The planners have provided no adequate case
for this new graded junction, in terms of quantified
benefits attributable to reduced delays, increased safety
and overall environmental impact compared with other
guidance on compact grade-separated junctions (Highways
Agency TD 40/94) says that, even if there is a positive
cost-benefit analysis, such a junction
will not be acceptable if there are significant
environmental problems regarding land take, visual
intrusion, loss of existing landscape or ecological effects.
SCC’s environmental impact assessment states that "Cowey
Sale's absence of development gives a unique quality within
a local context" and "the open land within the floodplain is
protected by Greenbelt Policies".
that inhibit SCC? It seems not. "The addition of the
northern slip-road in particular creates a severe effect"
... "the open nature of Cowey Sale around the viaduct will
be lost" ... "the landscape immediately around the
slip-roads will have been dramatically and irreversibly
changed" (Vol 1 Section 12.4.4).
are significant environmental problems regarding land take,
visual intrusion, loss of existing landscape AND ecological
Junction design and traffic flow
Walton Lane (Weybridge) leads into narrow,
traffic-calmed residential roads in Weybridge, and past two
It is already used as a ‘rat run’ for traffic
travelling between M25 J11/Addlestone and Walton Bridge.
of the junction
rat-running is limited by the slow queue at the bridge end
of Walton Lane – an extra ten minutes at peak times.
cloverleaf junction would facilitate traffic flows into (and
out of) Walton Lane. This is a matter of deep concern for
many residents, who believe it will encourage heavier use of
the rat run through Portmore Park.
MP, Mr Phillip Hammond, has been responsive to residents on
this matter, expressing his concern
at any possible increase in traffic along Walton Lane
resulting from the bridge scheme.
SCC’s traffic modelling predicts there will be no
increase in traffic volume along Walton Lane with the
This is completely counter-intuitive. Without a
built-in delay at the Walton Lane/A244 junction, the route
is a more appealing rat run. And for traffic on Walton
Bridge heading towards a long queue waiting to turn right
into Oatlands Drive, an immediate turn into Walton Lane
would look quicker. We need evidence of the rationale behind
We are also puzzled by another apparent inconsistency. In
the SCC planning hearing proceedings, Colin Bentley
explicitly said that the limiting factors on traffic flow
over the bridge are the junctions to either side (Marshalls
roundabout and New Zealand Avenue lights), so a new bridge
and Walton Lane junction will not cause increased flow.
the SCC Environmental Statement says “Junction 3 (the
kidney-shaped) was taken forward as the preferred option due
to its overwhelming [sic] public support and benefits
associated with safety and improved traffic flows. However,
Junction 3 does have a considerable impact on the
The SCC case for this bridge and junction scheme is
muddled and unconvincing. The additional link road is
damaging and unnecessary. A much less destructive junction
can be designed – one which is safe, preserves valued
riverside amenity and allows smooth traffic flow along the
A244 – combined with a less obtrusive bridge of a quality
that does justice to this quite exceptional site.