Plans to reroute South Circular and ban cars from town centre

Transport for London said it is committed to redesigning a “nightmare” one-way system in South London after doubts were raised about the scheme’s future following years of delay.

Wandsworth Council set aside £27million of the project’s estimated £79m costs more than a decade ago to redesign a town centre to slash congestion.

TfL published the plans in 2014, which were supported in consultations, and work was due to begin in 2017 – but this still hasn’t happened.

The proposals would see the gyratory overhauled to end the dominance of cars and lorries in the town centre, leaving it free for buses, bikes and pedestrians.

This would involve rerouting the A3 and A205 South Circular to the north of the town centre along Armoury Way, which would become two-way, and restricting the central section of Wandsworth High Street and Garratt Lane to buses and cyclists.

This means all traffic except buses would be diverted away from the high street.

At a council meeting in March 2021, former Conservative leader Ravi Govindia said there would be further delays to the scheme after TfL furloughed staff for much of 2020 due to the pandemic – including the team working on the project.

He said a business case would be submitted to the Department for Transport for funding and it was expected the outcome would be known that summer.

But he expressed “dismay” in March this year over continuing delays to the revamp and raised concerns it would be scrapped altogether.

TfL and the council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they are still working on the business case and added that DfT funding is needed for the scheme to go ahead.

Helen Cansick, head of healthy streets investment at TfL, said: “We remain committed to making it easier for people across Wandsworth to walk, cycle and use the bus and it is important that we get plans for Wandsworth gyratory right to ensure the best possible scheme for the local community.

“Funding from the DfT would be needed to build the scheme and we continue to work with Wandsworth Council on submitting the strongest possible business case to allow the scheme to go ahead.”

A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council said: “Overhauling the one-way system is a key commitment and as such Wandsworth Council is working in partnership with TfL on an application to the Department for Transport for funding from its major roads network programme.

“The council believes the proposed changes to the one-way system would have an enormously positive effect on the quality of life for people living and working in the town centre.

“By removing and reducing through traffic the changes would deliver cleaner air and safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists and deliver improvements in bus journey times.

“We are fully committed to working with Transport for London to deliver these benefits and make the town centre cleaner, greener and safer for all.”