Conservative pressure pays off as petrol station improvements begin

Following a year of pressure from Greenwich Conservative Council Leader Cllr Spencer Drury, steps are finally being taken to improve the traffic flow into the Tesco/Esso petrol station at Clifton’s roundabout; the junction of Sidcup Road and Westhorne Avenue.  The Tesco/Esso management closed the petrol station for a few days last week to implement a new system of signing and road marking. 


Cllr Drury started the campaign because of the dangerous problems created by cars queuing on the A20 to get into the petrol station.  Conservatives wrote to over 300 residents in the surrounding area and received a really positive response with many suggestions on how to improve the situation. They then liaised with TfL (something the council was not doing) and kept constant pressure on Greenwich Council to support the campaign.


Following the meeting between Cllr Drury and Transport for London (TfL) Officers organised by GLA member Gareth Bacon AM at City Hall,  TfL arranged a survey and subsequently met with Royal Borough of Greenwich Council Officers and representatives of Esso/Tesco for the site.


Despite refusing to apologise for her inaction over the last year at the December Council meeting, the Cabinet Member (Cllr Hyland), forced to act,  finally  stating that Tesco/Esso’s future plans would include:


“….proposing to implement further changes in April 2014. Again these changes are aimed at improving customer through-put, which would in turn reduce queuing back onto Westhorne Avenue. These further changes comprise:

(i)     Introducing “pay at pump” facilities (for those customers who only require fuel)

(ii)   Upgrading the fuel pumps so that flow rates are greater and hoses are longer

(iii)Improving the queue management technology within the store


Spencer said “I am so pleased that my hard work on this dangerous issue has finally paid off and some action has been taken to stop traffic queuing onto the road.  I really did fear that someone would be killed if the situation was allowed to persist.  Having said that there is still more which needs to be done to ensure that the queues do not recur.”


“I remain extremely disappointed that it has taken a year for the Council to stop trying to blame other people and actually address this issue.  In my opinion Cllr Hyland owes local residents and drivers an apology for the delay, as do the ward Councillors who have been notable for their absence over this whole process.”


The questions asked by Cllr Drury are shown below:





11. Question from Councillor Spencer Drury to Councillor Denise

Hyland, Cabinet Member for Regeneration; Enterprise and Skills


Is the Cabinet Member aware that queues to enter the Tesco’s petrol station opposite the Big Yellow Box Company on Westhorne Avenue, now regularly stretch back on to the dual carriageway and roundabout?


What action will/has the Cabinet Member taken to try and address this dangerous occurrence?


Reply –


I thank Councillor Drury for his question.


Councillor Drury will be aware that the site in question is on the junction of the A20 and A205. Both these roads are “red routes” for which Mayor Johnson is responsible. That responsibility includes maintenance and road safety.


Any road safety issue that could impact on road issues in the Royal Borough is a concern regardless of who may be responsible for addressing it.


Royal Borough of Greenwich reported the problem described to TfL in December 2012 and are currently awaiting a response from them. This matter is being actively followed up.

The Council expects TfL to approach the operators of the petrol station site with a view to changing their arrangements to alleviate the problem.


·        WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2013



23. Question from Councillor Spencer Drury, to Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills


In January and on several occasions since then, Cllr Hyland has made statements which suggest that TfL were responsible for the queuing on to the road at the Tesco/Esso garage at Clifton’s roundabout. I am grateful that in November, Cllr Hyland took the time to write to me and in that letter stated:


‘I was concerned to hear that TfL appear to be powerless to take enforcement action against the drivers concerned. I asked officers to confirm that this is indeed the case and agreed to write to the Borough

Police Commander if it were true. Regrettably, I received confirmation that TfL were unable to take action and so last week I wrote to the Commander. I asked him to (i) put pressure on Tesco/ Esso to find a solution and (ii) consider whether he could deploy resources there to limit the thoughtless behaviour of the drivers concerns.’


Given that I told her several times this year that she was mistaken in her assumption that TfL were responsible, will she now apologise to the

Mayor of London for trying to shift the blame for this problem on to him and explain why it took so long for her to establish that responsibility lay elsewhere?




I thank Councillor Drury for his question.


I see no need to apologise since my assertions that the roads are the responsibility of TfL is correct.


Both roads are priority red routes operated by Transport for London (TfL) as the Highway Authority. The roads are not maintained by Royal Greenwich. The traffic conditions referred to are as a result of the number of motorists using the popular Tesco/ Esso shop and petrol station on the junction of Sidcup Road and Westhorne Avenue.