Merton Council has completed its first home zone in Laburnum Road, Mitcham.
Part of the council’s major £1 million improvements programme for Mitcham, the home zone provides a shared space for all road users. Kerbs and pavements have been removed to create one level surface, making life easier for wheelchair users and parents with prams.
The old street lighting has been replaced with the installation of more efficient double lanterns along the public footpath. These are designed to light both the footway and main shared area. Other improvements include five raised flower beds to be planted with lavender, Mitcham’s celebrated flower. Sorbus trees, with their lush green leaves and jewel-like red berries now line the road. With the safety of residents in mind, CCTV cameras have also been fitted. The number of parking bays has increased from 34 to 50 (up 70%) and new wooden fencing has been erected along the public footway.
The Laburnum Road home zone follows the development of Mitcham Eastfields station last year and provides the main pedestrian access from the town centre through to the station. The completion of this refurbishment project is a result of a continued successful working partnership between the council and Transport for London (TfL). This is the first time that TfL has helped a council fund improvements to the surrounding area of a new station under its area based schemes station access programme.
Long-time Mitcham resident James Wyatt, who lives on the Laburnum Estate, said: ‘This is great news for the area. It’s bright and feels safer because of the new lighting and if you’re in a wheelchair or have difficulties getting around it’s brilliant because it’s all on one level.’
Leader of Merton Council Councillor David Williams said: ‘The improvements to the road make it more attractive for residents in the area. What with the new station and now the refurbishment of Laburnum Road, we are continuing to make significant investment in upgrading Merton’s public spaces from which all our residents can benefit. I’m also proud to say that the planning and design of this attractive home zone is down to the expertise and talents of our very own traffic and highway engineers.’
The flower beds and landscaping will be completed by the autumn during the planting season.
The council values the improvement a home zone can make to an area, but recognises that not every location is suitable. Laburnum Road (c. 375m long) was deemed a suitable location due to the low volume of traffic. The road is also a cul-de-sac.
The raft of council-funded improvements to Mitcham include:
Five new gateway signs installed at Figges Marsh (two locations), Western Road, London Road and Three Kings roundabout to welcome people to Mitcham town centre. The signs will follow the design of those on the borough boundaries but will be adapted to read Mitcham town centre
New waste bins and seating have been installed around the Fair Green area and giant planters around Fair Green have been planted with lavender
An upgrade to the town’s pedestrian signs is planned for the autumn. They will display colour maps and information about what is available in the surrounding area. Historical references relevant to the location of each column will also be included.
The refurbishment of Mitcham shop fronts with the aim of further improving the overall appearance of the town. Five shop landlords have successfully applied for up to £5,000 each to give their shops a facelift. Each landlord is to contribute a matching amount towards the refurbishment.
Two brand new outdoor gyms at Figges Marsh and Pollards Hill Recreation Ground offering a mix of toning, cardio and stretching apparatus such as a cross trainer and chest and leg presses.
As part of the wider area improvements linked to the opening of Eastfields Station, a number of pedestrian and cycling improvements have been made along the length of St Marks Road linking the Station with Mitcham town centre creating a high quality through route. Measures include raised road surfaces on a level with the pavements g tables at all junctions to help mobility imparied people and people with buggies, widened footpaths, upgraded lighting, CCTV, a new cycle path, signage and some environmental improvements to open spaces along the road. Careful planning has ensured that no parking has been lost for local residents.