Residents puzzled by ‘nightmare’ utility pole blocking cycle lane

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents are puzzled after finding a cycle lane in a busy main road being blocked by a utility pole.

The pole appears in the middle of a cycle lane in Crofton Road in Orpington.

The lane was built after being approved by Bromley council in 2018. However, Michael O’Donnell, 55, said the path is rarely used and said he was left speechless when he first saw the pole.

Mr O’Donnell said: “My friend lives up in the top end. It’s madness, they spent God knows how much money building it.

“He comes down here every day to the station and he always says it’s a complete nightmare. They’ve made a complete balls-up of it.”

Gabi Paplauskaite said she has not seen anyone using the cycle lane since the pole appeared (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

Bromley council documents from 2018 said the cost to deliver the cycle lane in Crofton Road was £673,000, with the money being made available by Transport for London (TfL).

Several councillors raised concerns over the scheme before it was built, saying there was no proof of a demand for the path and it was not a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Despite this, the council agreed to pursue the project, claiming it would encourage cycling, and that the funds from TfL would be lost if they were not used.

Gabi Paplauskaite, 20, said she previously used the cycle lane for her job, but has not seen anyone on it since the pole appeared.

Tim Webb said he noticed the problem three weeks ago (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

She said: “It’s probably not the safest idea. To be honest, I think it was a waste because they did it two years ago or something and they’ve redone it and it looks exactly the same.”

Tim Webb, 66, said he noticed the problem three weeks ago and that the pole wasn’t originally in the cycle lane. Crofton Road was recently widened by the council at a cost of £77,000 to resolve traffic issues in the area, according to council documents from November 2022.

Mr Webb said he felt the work was rushed and that the council should have spent more time planning the solution.

He said: “It’s one of those topics, if you ask anyone in Orpington, that will come up time and time again as a great white elephant.

“And the latest incident just makes it a mockery. I’ve been there at night and that hazard tape is not reflective, so the concern people have is that someone goes charging into it.”

The utility pole is currently in the middle of the cycle path in Crofton Road in Orpington (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

“I’ve got nothing against cycle lanes. I think they’re a good idea, but I think the money from TfL maybe could have been used more wisely.”

Openreach is reportedly responsible for the utility pole.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “Our pole was in place before the cycle lane was created. We’re working with the council to make sure it’s safely relocated.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We work with all London boroughs to enable and encourage people to walk and cycle and are happy to work with them to improve existing schemes where appropriate.”

Bromley council said in a comment on FixMyStreet that the issue was being investigated. The council was approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Pictured top: Michael O’Donnell said he was speechless when he saw the pole (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:

“A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.



If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or, please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Bromley – South London News