Dr Johnson Avenue will remain open

Published: 9 May 2016

The council has decided not to proceed with plans to close Dr Johnson Avenue to vehicle traffic.

The proposals were subject to a wide ranging and detailed public consultation between January and April of this year.  

There was an unprecedented response to the consultation, which asked local people if they supported the idea of closing Dr Johnson Avenue to traffic, removing its asphalt and making it an integral part of Tooting Common.

The proposal also included an additional safeguard to protect residents living in Elmbourne Road who might have borne the brunt of any displaced traffic. This would have meant vehicles being banned from turning right into Elmbourne from Tooting Bec Road to prevent it becoming a “rat run”.

In total more than 3,200 individual responses were received to the consultation. The vast majority were submitted online but there were also nearly 450 completed paper questionnaires.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents voiced opposition to the scheme.  

Around a third of the responses came from the SW16 postal area while more than half were from people living in SW17 with five per cent from SW12 residents.

Wandsworth Council's director of housing and community services, Brian Reilly, said: “This issue certainly generated a huge amount of interest in Tooting and Furzedown and I’m very pleased that so many local people took the time to register their views.

“This was the biggest response we have had to a public consultation for many years and it proves that our communication work was very successful and local people certainly did answer our invitation to take part.

“Obviously this was a consultation, not a referendum, but given the overwhelming response from local people, it is abundantly clear that this is not a scheme supported by local people.”

Dr Johnson Avenue runs for a third of a mile between Tooting Bec Road and Hillbury Road. It separates Tooting Graveney Common from Tooting Bec Common – effectively splitting what’s more widely known as Tooting Common into two separate open spaces.

Last summer an informal consultation asking people if they supported the idea of closing Dr Johnson Avenue to through traffic met with a 58 per cent approval rate.