Ambulance and fire engine caught up in traffic chaos before Elton John tribute night in Cheam
An ambulance and a fire engine were held up in traffic chaos as major events in Cheam caused gridlock yesterday.
An open evening at Nonsuch High School in Ewell Road and a charity concert in nearby Nonsuch Park were both scheduled for yesterday evening and brought hundreds of cars to the area.
Traffic queues in Ewell Road yesterday
The park's management committee, led by Cheam Councillor Mary Burstow, has said the school failed to tell it the open evening had been scheduled meaning measures could not be put in place to alleviate the traffic problems.
The congestion caused severe tailbacks in the area that led to both an ambulance and a fire engine getting held up.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "The fire engine had to go down the wrong side of the road to get by - it was on the wrong side of the road and had to go around a blind bend, it was very dangerous.
"The ambulance just turned round and went a different way.
"The traffic was backed up right up to Cuddington Croft School, it was dreadful."
A second resident, who lives in Ewell Road, said: "I'm absolutely furious. I assumed the school would make other arrangements but it did not.
"The school causes problems at the start and the end of every day at the best of times but this made things ten times worse."
The traffic began to arrive for the open evening at about 4pm, while the concert started later in the evening. The traffic subsided at 8pm.
Coun Mary Burstow said: "The date of open day was agreed between Nonsuch High School and the other neighbouring secondary schools in Sutton and Epsom Boroughs, through the Secondary School Partnership.
"The school says that because the partnership knew the date, Sutton borough knew the date and should have told Nonsuch Park - I have heard better excuses for not handing in homework than that!
"It is not the job of the Secondary Schools Partnership to know that Nonsuch Park is the neighbour of Nonsuch School.
"The School and Nonsuch Park have co-existed for over 80 years, she School should have been a good neighbour and told the park.
"Once the problem had been discovered, the school could very easily have offered to provide parking on its Playing Fields, but instead it decided to impose traffic jam and parking misery on local residents."
Prior to the event, Nonsuch high School said it had arranged its event well in advance and publicised it on its website.
The Sutton Guardian has not recieved an official statement from Nonsuch High School but has been appraoched by the school's network manager Nelson Abrunhosa who said: "Education is much more important than any concert."
The event at the park was an Elton John and Abba Tribute night to raise money for the St Raphael's Hospice.
Both the fire brigade and the London Ambulance service have declined to comment.