Lewisham Council has been criticised for failing to implement infrastructure to improve cycling and walking, while approving a scrap metal recycling centre near a dangerous junction.  

In 2017 the council was given funding from Transport for London for the Deptford Parks Liveable Neighbourhood.   

The funding was to go towards improving walking and cycling in north Deptford, including new crossings and continuous footways “to prioritise pedestrians at side roads and reduce danger from traffic”.   

However, little has been done to achieve this, while the council granted Southwark Metals a licence to operate in the area last year. 

The centre opened in May by the junction of Trundleys Road and Surrey Canal Road, and by cycle route Quietway 1.

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Lorries from the centre are now parking opposite the site – locals have raised safety concerns as the vehicles are hidden from the view of those coming under the bridge by the junction. 

Local group DeptfordFolk said they were “disappointed” that Southwark Metals is using the space to park up lorries, though the company argues it is private land. 

They said in a statement: “We’re really disappointed that Southwark Metals scrapyard are now using the space opposite to park up lorries.  

“The already perilous crossing over Surrey Canal Road became much worse with the arrival of the scrapyard last summer and hundreds of truck/HGV movements across school routes/cycle Quietway 1.  

“Now the opposite side of the road has trucks parked up. As if walking under the bridge wasn’t dangerous enough.   

“We have previously asked Lewisham Council to put a few bollards at this location to prevent repeated industrial scale fly-tipping. Now it’s becoming a lorry park.” 

They added: “Residents need to be able to walk and cycle safely in the area.  

“There is not enough bus/train/overground capacity to cope with inhabitants of 17,000 new homes in the vicinity.” 

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A spokesperson for Lewisham Council said it “always fully investigates reports of businesses not following regulations, and we are continuing to listen to local concerns”. 

“Road safety is a key priority for Lewisham Council and a range of measures are being delivered to improve road safety across the borough,” he added.  

A spokesperson for Southwark Metals said: “Southwark Metals is one of several waste sites that operates on Surrey Canal Road, an established industrial area.  

“We take the safety of our drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists extremely seriously and since our facility opened, we have invested over £50,000 into equipment and signage focused on cyclist and pedestrian safety.” 

The council has also been criticised for failing to install any healthy street initiatives with the TfL funding, but commissioning an art installation with it that was “supposed to be the icing on the cake of a £2.9m investment in walking and cycling infrastructure”.  

A council spokesperson said: “The Art Trail is part of the wider Deptford Liveable Neighbourhoods Scheme, supported by TfL.  

“It is one of the first elements to be installed as the disruptions caused by Covid-19 meant work on other elements needed to be suspended as the total amount of funding from TfL was reduced.  

“We await information from TfL on when funding for other components of the scheme will become available.

“We will engage with local residents on any revised plans in the coming weeks.     

 “There was a formal consultation on the initial Deptford Liveable Neighbourhood Scheme, with strong local support for the proposals.

“The designs for the Art Trail were developed with the local community.”