A CONTROVERSIAL one-way traffic scheme in Crystal Palace has been criticised by traders who say it will force their customers into the hands of the new multi-million pound leisure complex.

The £2m scheme will affect three roads in Crystal Palace, known as the Triangle, with only limited provision for short-term parking which the traders say will drive away their customers.

The plan was delayed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone earlier this year after bitter criticism from traders, who are terrified they will be forced into bankruptcy.

Bromley and Croydon, two of the five councils who make up the Crystal Palace Partnership, are still negotiating with Transport for London, the authority which advises Mr Livingstone about transport issues, on how to solve the area's problems.

Sue Nagle, of the Triangle Traders' Association, said the scheme would not cope with the impact of the proposed multi-million pound leisure complex. The retailer, based on Church Road, said: “The new leisure complex will bring in an extra four million car journeys into the area and our streets will not cope with the new one-way system.

“It will turn the area into a giant roundabout and that will bring disaster to the triangle and more business to the leisure complex.”

She added: “As local traders, we are absolutely terrified that we will go bust.”

But Iain Sim, Croydon Council's director of planning, said: “There is no question that this system was set up to help the multiplex it's about trying to solve the triangle's congestion problems.

“We found it is a system actually preferred by local people after we went through different options with them.”

He added: “At the moment cars are parked illegally on the triangle which is part of the problem because there is no room for through traffic. That has to stop whatever happens.

“But with a one-way system, there will be more room for parking. We want to set up 50 short-term spaces.