Focus on muggers' paradise subway

FEELINGS ran high during a meeting about crime-ridden underpasses. The meeting last week at Somerville Hall, Somerville Road, Chadwell Heath, was called after a series of attacks were reported in nearby subways. Among residents who attended was a 60-year

FEELINGS ran high during a meeting about crime-ridden underpasses.

The meeting last week at Somerville Hall, Somerville Road, Chadwell Heath, was called after a series of attacks were reported in nearby subways.

Among residents who attended was a 60-year-old man who has sight problems. He claimed he was chased, and beaten with sticks, by a gang of thugs.

Worried business owners have expressed concerns over the subways and the plight of residents. They have discussed issues with police, councillors and Greater London Assembly member Andrew Boff.


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War hero Chris Wilson - who appeared in last week's Recorder talking of his terror when he walked through the Somerville Road subway - made an impassioned call for a bus to travel through the area.

He claimed the route - similar to the planned extension of the 499 which was scrapped in 2007 - would allow elderly people to get across the A12 without using one of the isolated underpasses.

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"I'm convinced that's the best way for anybody like myself to get to places," said Mr Wilson, who lives in Havering Gardens, about a mile from shops in High Road.

"My speech went down well with the audience, although not so well with the people who campaigned against the bus," he added.

Other suggestions included setting up CCTV inside the subways, and installing an overground crossing.

Barking and Dagenham councillor Terry Justice said: "For a meeting where passions were running high, it was extremely orderly and extremely constructive.

"It is my personal opinion that a crossing would be a retrograde step and an obstacle to such a major road into the city.

"But what was agreed was that we have to put immediate pressure on TfL and demand immediate action to track down these people."

A Transport for London spokesman said: "The option of putting CCTV in the subway is being discussed, however there are limitations due to the low ceiling height of the subway which would leave any cameras open to vandalism.

"We are also looking at the issues around introducing ground level crossings on 50mph roads, such as the A12, but because of the busy, fast-moving nature of these arterial roads there are road safety implications."

The spokesman added that there were no plans to extend route 499, but the bus network remains under review.

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