Pilot scheme aims to tackle rat runners in West Hill

Published: Tuesday 12th March 19

A trial scheme is about to get underway to tackle rush-hour rat-running across the West Hill area, in response to pleas from residents concerned at traffic using their residential streets as cut-throughs.

Traffic studies have shown that many peak time motorists are leaving the A3 at Tibbet’s Corner and using nearby residential roads to avoid queues on West Hill.

The worst affected include Withycombe Road, Princes Way, Keevil Drive, Skeena Hill, Girdwood Road, Granville Road and Merton Road.

Studies have shown that very little of this traffic is “local” and that the drivers accessing these cut-throughs are travelling through the borough to other destinations having started from further afield.

To tackle this problem trial measures will be introduced later this month to discourage traffic from using these quiet side streets.

For a minimum six-month period, early morning traffic will not be permitted to turn left from Wimbledon Park Side into Withycombe Road and the northern stretch of Inner Park Road.

These arrangements will apply between 7am and 10am and cover the busiest time of day for commuters. The restriction will not apply to buses and cyclists.

The aim is to keep traffic on the main trunk road (West Hill) or encourage motorists to find alternative routes into Wandsworth town centre. Further surveys will be carried out to enable “before and after” comparisons and the scheme will be actively monitored to ensure drivers comply with these changes – with camera enforcement used if appropriate.

During the six-month experiment it may be necessary to make additional changes to address driver behaviour and if this happens local residents will be notified in advance.

Wandsworth’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “People living along these commuter routes in West Hill have expressed very clear concerns to us about traffic levels and vehicle speeds in their neighbourhoods.

“The traffic studies we have carried out have shown these concerns to be fully justified, particularly in the early morning rush-hour when many motorists drive past their front doors to avoid the hold-ups on the A3 between Tibbet’s Corner and the south circular at the junction with the Upper Richmond Road.

“Residents have asked us to address this issue and we believe we have come up with an effective solution to tackle the problem. What we will do over the course of the trial period is closely monitor traffic flows to make sure this plan is working and if necessary make further changes.

“What is important is that local people tell us what they think and let us know if they judge whether or not the changes are having a positive or negative effect. The views of residents will play a key role in determining if this scheme is made permanent or abandoned.”

The changes are due to commence on or around March 25. From that date onwards until the end of August, people can submit their observations on the scheme’s effectiveness by visiting

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Recent comments

I am at a loss to understand how one gets to Noddy's Nursery on Beaumont Road from Tibbet's Corner with two 'No Left Turn' signs now in play along Wimbledon Park Side. The enforcement camera car chap told me it was really easy - second turning on to Inner Park Road ... Augustus Road ... then Victoria Road. That's a further 1.3 miles travelled to come out on Withycombe Way / Princes Way 0.1 miles down from the junction with Wimbledon Park Side!! An ill-considered decision or a deliberate revenue generator...? If a driver flouts the signage on average every minute, Wandsworth Council stands to pull in £12,000 every morning ... £70,000 a week. Whilst doubtful, one hopes such revenues will be used to facilitate a better, long-term solution.

7 May 2019

How can you get to Southfields tube station when you come off the A3 if you cannot do a legt here?
Claire Bolton

30 April 2019

Pardon me but what a stupid idea. Not able to use left turn will force me to do longer journey or being stuck for a long time in West Hill area when exiting A3. Imagine the pollution because of that. And all the government talk is tackling the pollution. How ? making peoples' journeys longer ? Has anyone in this council even thought about the fact that there is a school in Keevil Drive area ? How am I supposed to get to this school ? After 10 am when it starts 9 am ? another stupid decision made by someone who does not live in reality and has got no idea what it means for West Hill traffic- especially when there is an accident. I do understand the concerns of residents but this is not the way to go.

23 April 2019

I live in Earlsfield and my family own a car. I wonder if some of the measures have pushed traffic further afield? Penwith Road (nearly entirely residential, 20mph limit, speed bumps, 7.5 tonne vehicle restrictions etc) is becoming increasingly congested and is seemingly being used as a cut through, dropping south of the A3. I appreciate the efforts being made by the council to reduce traffic in London. A joined up strategy is needed to encourage people out of their cars, and away from car ownership, by dis-incentivising driving in general, in favour of public transport and cycling. Can the Wandsworth Town Centre A3 plans be fast tracked and considered in the context of the impact on traffic in the local area? Thank you

11 April 2019

I’ve lived in this area most of my life and this is is not new. Why has the council Sunderland woken up to this? There must be some money making reason behind this. And other roads in Southfields are dug up creating more congestion in the mean time.

8 April 2019

While I completely understand the issue I do not see this is a solution all’s that will happen is traffic will be pushed further afield causing the same problem for other residents. This will also increase already high levels of pollution whilst sitting in longer traffic jams on the A3 and west hill.
Sally Cocks

7 April 2019

Same is true of the Heaver Estate, where the local luvvies want to restrict / ban through traffic, presumably so Hugo can pop to his city job at KPMG, whilst Felicity Jane can nip to daytime yoga in her 4x4, safe in the knowledge that little Tarquin & Beatrice can hop & skip to school without being disturbed by drivers who, shock horror, don't live there and are using the roads to get from A-B. It's no surprise local councillors live on that estate, seems that it's one rule for them, and one rule for everyone else! Wandsworth council are incompetent, arrogant, and morons – try and sort the problem, not the symptom. To me it appears the council is populated with imbeciles who possess the combined brain power of an amoeba
Mathew Taylor

17 March 2019

How very NIMBY of the residents / council, to control who can / can't drive down their roads - shocking arrogance and elitism at it's best. So, the aim of the plan is to “encourage motorists to find alternative routes into Wandsworth town centre” i.e. push the problem onto others!?!? Nice one Wandsworth council – morons! If residents want a private road and / or traffic controls, and to restrict who uses their roads, then move to an area that offers that e.g. a private gated estate - don't live in Inner London and then complain about traffic, as that is akin to moving to Hounslow and complaining about the noise of planes and seeking to stop or divert the flights into Heathrow.

17 March 2019

My small experience of using the Waze satnav app is that it’s inclined to send you down backroads to avoid queues. It did it last week on East Hill. I reckon it saved me about 30 seconds!

16 March 2019

The roads mentioned in the article were used as an official diversion route for motorists when the north bound A3 was under going major works - Wandsworth created this monster as people now know short cuts through the residential areas thus avoided the congested run into the Wandsworth one way system. BTW - How do residents access these roads in the controlled time periods? Plus, Waze doesn't help with the so called 'rat-run' problem as this app and many others find the quickest and shortest routes for drivers destinations.
Owen Sampson

16 March 2019

Once again Wandsworth Council shows their scorn for motorists. Instead of stopping drivers finding a way around your over congested roads why not try and fix the problem of the congestion. FFS treat the cause of the problem not the symptoms, you morons. As the previous person said, we all pay for these roads. So are we now saying that only the moaning people living in those roads will be financially responsible for their upkeep, I can't see that happening.
Jaime Baker

15 March 2019

So...the roads that we ALL maintain with our taxes are exclusive to only some people? Well done Wandsworth Council, good job supporting the wealthy moaning about those dirty commuters driving on the roads they own.

15 March 2019

Ridiculous state of affairs,closing off access to motorists when other main through routes are blocked, what do you possibly think you will achieve from this, nothing more but more congestion and more pollution, Motorists are forced to use other routes when there are no alternatives to get from A to B.

15 March 2019

If you sort out the main road system and light phasing you could do a lot to alleviate this. Don’t penalise motorists for trying to make best use of the existing road network and make up for poor design principles designed to restrict motorists rather than improve flow and efficiency.
Dale Keller

15 March 2019

I live on Aslett St. While I have no problem with drivers trying to avoid a queue, I do very strongly object to those who think it's wise to speed, sometimes at extraordinary levels, through the "rat-runs". Especially past a school entrance (Swaffield). A speed camera/CCTV wouldn't come amiss. Thanks.
Evelyn Dean

15 March 2019

This greedy council wants to build its way to riches (new homes bonus of £25m - 2018-20); then plays cheap mickey mouse local politics by tackling road and traffic congestion...and wants to force people on to heavily clogged red routes...no doubt forcing extra traffic onto West Hill and then onto Sutherland grove...

12 March 2019

What a cheek. Wandsworth have allowed Wandsworth to become over populated - building more & more houses. Wandsworth have allowed 2 private bus companies to set up - which I always see empty (while trying to cancel the 19 bus). There are 2 car hire companies using Wandsworth roads - Zip Cars (petrol) and blue city (electric) - both companies have free parking in the borough. 2 blue city cars were parked at an electric charging point in Vicarage Crescent for nearly a fortnight - one there now for several days - and these is always a Zip Car parked in Vicarage Crescent. Main roads are always being dug up forcing drivers to find alternative routes. Would we ever get anywhere if we started banning vehicles from using our roads.

12 March 2019