A new £900,000 cycle path to create a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians to Gatwick Airport has been branded a "waste of money" by one ambulance service volunteer. Recent improvements made to the cycle path for a stretch of 1.8 miles on the A217 between Crutchfield Lane and Charlwood, in Horley, has sparked complaints from those familiar with the area after Surrey County Council invested millions from a government grant on the works.

Some were left feeling it was a “waste of money” and upset that “no consultation” had been made to inform residents of the work before it was carried out. Surrey County Council asked for cash from a £250 million "emergency funding" pot the Tory government was dishing out to improve "active travel".

The local authority bid for £6.75 million for a number of projects of which £881,656 was earmarked to connect the new Westvale Housing development to Gatwick Airport for workers travelling by foot or bicycle. The proposal stated: “This route is located on the A217 Reigate Road between the A217 / Westvale Road roundabout to the A23 roundabout at the approach to Gatwick Airport . The scheme links the new Westvale Park housing development at the northern end to the Longbridge Roundabout at the southern end of the scheme."

READ NEXT: A3 tunnel under Guildford town 'necessary' for new home development, says MP

Poor road surfaces and deep potholes along Crutchfield Lane, just off of where the cycle path was updated. There is a deep pothole and puddle along the single track road
Poor road surfaces and deep potholes along Crutchfield Lane, just off of where the cycle path was updated

Mike Harrison, 70, from Leigh commented on the work, saying he did not know what "Surrey County Council were thinking when they spent all that money on a road safety scheme that was not needed", considering the "appalling" state of the roads in the surrounding area.

Mike, who is retired, volunteers for the South Central Ambulance Service . He uses this stretch of road often to transport cancer patients to and from their appointments. Mike said the work has caused interference with his journeys, explaining: “I use it an awful lot and it is very inconvenient when it was closed and no overriding reason it could not have been kept open.

“There’s no opportunity to turn right on my return trip so now I have to go down to Longbridge roundabout and come back all the way up again along with hundreds of other people. People are mindful of journey lengths due to the cost of living and the approved diversion seems unreasonable. There should have been a roundabout, I don’t understand why turning right is such a bad thing.”

He added: “It would have been nice for them to have given a consultation to see what residents would think. This all started when they changed the Mill Road junction three years ago, and this seems to be a way of fixing it without admitting fault. A roundabout would have been better than a pelican crossing.”

After posting on Nextdoor about the work that had been done, Mike received many responses in agreement with him. More than 30 people commented in agreement, and many mentioned the potholes in the same area that have caused damage to tyres.

“Is this really what the council should be spending money on, in a time of austerity ?” Mike questioned, adding that the council could have spent the money on resurfacing roads, such as Crutchfield Lane, which is now “ruined” due to overuse. Mike said: “Crutchfield Lane has all potholes now, because lorries and delivery drivers started using it.”

A spokesperson for Surrey County Council said: “The scheme was funded by a government grant to improve opportunities for residents to walk and cycle safely away from traffic on this important route. This route is key in linking the Westvale Park development with Gatwick Airport - the biggest employer in the south-east.

“The new controlled crossing is to assist pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross a busy road and encourages greater use of the path as users are safely segregated from traffic at all times.

“We take the views of our residents very seriously and we would encourage anyone after more information to contact us directly via our website or email us at highways@surreycc.gov.uk .”


Get the latest Surrey traffic and travel updates direct to your inbox for free here.