Yes, it was a genuine proposal to cut up swathes of Surrey to build a motorway into London. And did you know, they even started building it? Hidden parts still exists – this includes part of the carriageway and an abandoned bridge that you still drive under today.
If you come off the M25 at Junction 7 heading for Carshalton you will travel towards Hooley on the M23 and pass under this large abandoned bridge. Can’t place it? – to the right just before the bridge is an old orchard surrounded by a picket fence. After the bridge, the road joins the A23 opposite the large Starbucks [fig 4.] that used to be a pub.
So when did it come about? Between 1969 and 1973 a new extension to the M23 was carefully drawn out, and this bridge was due to carry the motorway.
It would extend the motorway at this point to travel into London, from its start in Brighton. It would connect with London at Streatham and cut through Chipstead, Banstead, Beddington and Wallington.
The surface of the proposed extension can still be seen between the M23 and A23 junction – snaking off to nowhere.
The top of the bridge itself is hard to access but once there you will see a wide area of tarmac and a central reservation marked. But of course, in the end, it never served a purpose.
The road would travel along Woodmansterne Lane where Dobbies garden centre is.
At Wallington it would cut through the back gardens of houses on Sandy Lane South.
In Beddington it would pass close to Sutton’s only Grade 1 listed building, Carew Manor.
Then it would have cut directly through the area known as Beddington Farmlands.
At the time of the announcement, house prices dropped considerably in affected areas.
The plans were finally declined in 1978 by the Department for Transport. It’s hard to imagine how different our area would have been if this had gone ahead.
Thanks for reading. As you can imagine this takes considerable time and effort to put together. If you enjoyed reading it, we’d be grateful if you could add your comments and feedback below. Words and diagrams by Secret Carshalton. Please note the diagrams are indicative only and not 100% accurate. Additional credits: youtube.com/@nearlycossack9420, Roads.org.uk.