Harold Would Have Used The 497, BUT ...
Friday, 8 October 2021
Harold Would But He Couldn't (4)
The estate is known as Kings Park (doubtless after King Harold who used to park his chariot there!). The properties are crammed in and the immediate area lacks any facilities like, for example, shops or a community centre or, horror of horrors, a pub! It is not a community, it is a dormitory.
When the Norfolk Park Estate was being built, it was served by Sheffield Transport buses - obviously. As soon as Park Grange Road was open STD started a works service 122 for the builders. Then, as the tower blocks (now demolished!) were built and occupied the frequency was increased until a 71 bus ran up and down the hill every 6 minutes.
How did it go, then, under the much admired "franchise system" of Transport for London.
Answer: very very slowly.
From laying the first brick (there aren't bricks, of course, the houses come on the back of a lorry) to starting the bus services has taken about ten years!
But lets see where this bus service now runs, having arrived on the scene well after the residents had make alternative arrangements to cope with the non-bus housing development! Here is the fbb network map ...
The TfL map is, as you might expect, wrong ...
What the 497 fails to serve is the one place on the Kings Park development that people might want to get to by bus, namely the health centre. It is called a Polyclinic to make it sound special ...
The bus then wiggles around a bit until it pulls in to the Tesco car park, where it meets a 499 (see network map above).
More brownie points for the planners?
We then cross the busy A12, fortunately with the help of traffic lights before turning into the ashton Road "warehouse" park.
The 497 then crosses Faringdon Avenue and tuns the length of Chatteris Avenue which looks very much like late 1950s or early 1960s development.
This includes a rather fine shopping centre on Hilldene Avenue ...
Not surprisingly loadings have been very light - an average calculated by Roger French for his blog of three passengers per trip!
Roger also tells us that part of this 24 minutes is used to run the bus light to the 174 terminus rather than sit empty and unwanted at the end of Hilldene Avenue.
So Transport for London is consulting - again!
One option is to withdraw the route completely; the other is to extend it in service to the 174 terminus. As there is already a bus every 7 minutes to Dagnam Park, it seem unlikely that this will do anything except dilute the number of passengers a tad on the 174.
fbb reckons there are some more imaginative ideas that can be explored. We know that the route is partially supported by Section 106 money from the developers of the Kings Park Estate but that cash will run out in due course, leaving the 497 even more at risk.
fbb suiggests extending the 499 from Tesco to Harold Wood Station and putting a further wiggle on the already wiggly 496.
But what does an old codger living at Seaon know?
Two snippets from the researches that fbb has undertaken. Google Streetview showed Harold Hill Library in a poor state and looking very closed.
But, thankfullty, there is a shiny new library in the main shopping centre across the road.(here),
Next Variety blog : Saturday 9th October