After a long struggle, approval for cycle tracks across Tooting Bec and Wandsworth Commons was finally given on Friday 28th October 2005. This is a significant victory for cycle campaigners and Wandsworth Council.
The route across Tooting Common was the main topic of debate, arousing both the most enthusiatic support and the most vigorous opposition.
See the results of the latest cycle count (188 KB, pdf format), done in November 2005 after the positive decision was made. A companion count was also carried out on Wandsworth Common (see Reports).
The route across Tooting Common runs from south to north, linking Furzedown Road with Emmanuel Road as part of a continuous cycle route between Streatham and Battersea. The Wandsworth Common routes run from east to west, linking Bolingbroke Grove with Heathfield Road and Lyford Road.
A first public inquiry in 1996 gave the Council permission to widen the footpaths on both Tooting and Wandsworth Commons to allow enough room for both cyclists and pedestrians.
The Cycle Tracks Act 1984 allows for a footpath to be changed to a cycle track by means of a “Cycle Tracks Order”.
A second public inquiry was held at Wandsworth Town Hall during August and September 2001. In his report, the inspector supported the idea of a cycle track. However, he rejected the proposed Cycle Tracks Order on the basis of a legal technicality, claiming that the paths were not public footpaths. Read our press release (10 KB, pdf format).
In May 2002 the Secretary of State for Local Government, Transport and the Regions backed the inspector’s decision by refusing to confirm the proposed Cycle Tracks Order. Wandsworth Council sought a judicial review (like an appeal) of this decision and it was quashed in September 2002. Read our press release from July 2002 (11 KB, pdf format).
As the original decision was quashed, the Secretary of State for Transport had to make a fresh decision. After 3 years of deliberation, he finally decided in favour in October 2005. Read our press release from October 2005 (6 KB, pdf format).
The role of the Tooting Commons Management Advisory Committee (MAC) is to monitor and advise on the management of the Common. It is made up of representatives from local groups, sporting bodies and local residents, elected at an annual public meeting.
The Committee is very keen to have members from local organisations and would be delighted to have a representative from WCC. Potential representatives can contact the Committee Chairman, c/o Simon Cooper-Gundy, Parks Services Department, Wandsworth Council, The Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 2PU.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings and can make a short address on relevant issues. You can also contact the Committee and take part in on-line discussions about the Common by joining the email group: firstname.lastname@example.org.