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Ugly poles spark Tramlink row

COST CUTTING on the construction of the Croydon Tramlink has fuelled confrontation between local residents and Croydon Council. Residents and conservation groups claim they were misled by the council's original designs for poles carrying overhead catenaries.

Design, finance, construction and operation of the line is being carried out by Tramlink, a consortium comprising Amey, Sir Robert McAlpine Centre West, Bombardier, Eurorail and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Originally Tramlink stated the wires would be supported on poles which, according to its 1997 brochure, would '...be designed to minimise their visual impact'.

But in the last six months H-section rolled steel stanchions have been erected in the town centre, conservation areas and areas of historical importance along the tram route.

Protests from the Mid Croydon conservation planning panel have resulted in Croydon Borough Council agreeing to consider asking Tramlink to replace the H-section stanchions with circular section poles.

Tramlink Croydon Project Director Ian Kendal said: 'The council has in the main approved the columns but is reviewing whether it wants to change any in regard to the original agreement'.

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