Archive for April, 2010
Author: Cyril Richert
Over the last 14 months, we have been supported by many local residents, associations and councillors who were keen to join with us expressing their concerns about Clapham Junction and particularly the station.
We have already met with directors from the Office of Rail Regulation and senior managers from Network Rail (meetings organised by MP Martin Linton), who will be responsible for delivering any improvement project to redevelop the station. Within the next two years, these bodies will determine the funding allocation up to 2020.
We are concerned that our involvement should not just be reactive, but a positive contribution to any new development. Clapham Junction Station is the biggest junction in Europe. It is in a disgraceful state, a national scandal, and as such it should be treated as a priority. Money is, as always, the stumbling block but with the help of concerned people we may be able to inspire more imaginative thinking about the scope of the opportunity without resorting to skyscrapers to pay for it.
Although many statutory, political and business forums will be consulted before any plans are drawn up, this is an opportunity for local residents to have their say.
- Would you welcome a new station building on the site of the current Stop Shop and adjacent buildings, and if so, should it make a landmark for Clapham Junction or seek to blend in with the current style of buildings in the area?
- If taller buildings are to be included in the development to make it viable, how tall should they reasonably be?
- What suggestions would you make for improving access between St John’s Road and Grant Road and the station platforms in between? Should the current underpass and overpass be retained and how could they be enhanced? Should further overpasses/underpasses be added?
- What is your vision for the entrance of Grant Road? St John’s Hill? Should the redevelopment concentrate on the station buildings solely or include destroying the adjacent building to redesign the full area?
- How much shopping do you think should be made available in any development and should space be made available for office businesses?
- What should be done to improve access to the station across and along the busy roads around?
- What prime conditions should be addressed for any redevelopment of the station?
We would be happy to collect the views of the community to make a case to Network Rail (an example of the dossier that could be presented with your contributions is available here in PDF).
Please send your views (letter/graphs/notes…) on the station area to:
Key Facts on the station
The Station: Current Situation
Clapham Junction Station is the busiest train interchange in Britain and is used by 19.8 million recorded passengers per year starting or finishing their journeys at the station (not including changes between trains, which increases the figure to 36.57 million passengers). There is a 30% planned growth by 2026.
Passenger congestion is already a major issue during the am and pm peak travel periods. Passengers using the St John’s Hill ticket hall are regularly affected by congestion. Grant Road provides an unwelcoming approach with adjacent derelict and boarded up buildings and the entrance is closed at 11pm.
The subway experiences severe congestion during the am & pm peak flows and throughout much of the day. The current congestion levels at Clapham Junction, both on platforms and inside the station, are in need of long term sustainable solutions.
Extensions and perspectives
- Frequency of overground services to Willesden Junction to be increased to 4 trains/hour .
- Phase 2 of the East London Line extension, running from Clapham Junction to Docklands [May 2012].
- New rail link from Heathrow Airport to Waterloo. 2 services an hour stopping at Clapham Junction .
- Cross Rail line 2 .
Improvements and funding
- Network Rail is currently installing lifts at Clapham Junction Station, to provide access to each platform from the footbridge as part of the government’s ‘Access for All’ programme – 2010. [£8.5m]
- Additional entrance and ticket hall will be created with parking and a drop-off area in Brighton Yard for taxis and cars (see plans on our website) – 2011. [£1.5m]
- Small improvements and cosmetic [£2m]
- Wider footways, street furniture, cycle lanes, road diversion (Council’s “Exemplar Scheme”) [£3m]
- Additional funding announced by the Transport Secretary: £10m. Projects to be decided.
- Platform lengthening and straightening at [£20m] Cancelled as NR considered it is no longer necessary!
We list below with dates the contributions we received. This list will be updated a.s.a.p. with new contributions.
- Example of redevelopment with Basel Station
- 10/02/2010-Tony Papard
- 17/02/2010-Judith Howard
- 19/02/2010-David Hargreaves
- 26/02/2010-Sue Vidovic
- 08/03/2010-Derrick Johnson
- 08/03/2010-Janet Johnson
- 09/03/2010-Richard Gott
- 10/03/2010-S Rose
- 19/03/2010-Carol Jennings
- 24/04/2010-Cyril Richert
- 05/05/2010-Julia Matcham
- 12/05/2010-David Curran
- 13/05/2010-Lynda Mathewson
- 13/05/2010-Paul Forrester
- 15/05/2010-Tim Glass
- 15/05/2010-Marianne I. van Abbe
- 16/05/2010-David Hargreaves
- 16/05/2010-Will Henderson
- 19/05/2010-Pat Johnson
- 31/05/2010-Elaine Macfarlane
- 06/06/2010-Marney Rd
- 06/07/2010-Judith Howard
- 01/09/2010-Craig Liversidge
- 23/10/2010-Peter Deakins
- 30/11/2010-Wandsworth Labour Group
- 12/01/2011-Halldor Fossa
- 03/06/2011-Battersea Society
Please send your views (letter/graphs/notes…) on the station area to:
Author: Cyril Richert
Back in December 18, 2009 I wrote: “Ram Brewery: the Secretary of State could make a decision before next election“. In view of the date for the decision (before May 27th) I was much too optimistic and Tony Belton was right to point out that in his view it was delaying the decision after the election, for the new Secretary of State (good luck fellow!).
Yesterday I received the following letter (see PDF here) saying that:
the Secretary of State will not be in a position to reach a decision on this appeal [Ram Brewery] by 27 May. This is because of the general election and the need, following that election, for any new Ministers to be briefed on planning casework. Therefore [...] the Secretary of State hereby gives notice that he has varied the timetable previously set and he will now issue his decision on or before 17 June 2010.
Author: Kate Williams
Fantastic news! Theresa Villiers MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, visited Clapham Junction Station on Saturday. Cyril and I were delighted to be invited by Jane Ellison, the Conservative candidate for Battersea, to meet her. Unfortunately Cyril was out of the country, but I was able to spend 45 minutes with Theresa and Jane discussing the urgent need for improvements and our frustration at the lack of any long term strategy or major funding commitments from Network Rail.
It was reassuring to hear that Theresa shared our concern as to Network Rail’s lack of accountability, and would plan to make them answerable to both commuters and parliament under a future Conservative administration. Improving rail travel is also apparently a key policy commitment, with an emphasis on encouraging far more passengers to choose trains instead of planes for journeys within the UK and to Northern Europe. We pointed out that Clapham Junction is already set to expand by more than 25% with the opening of the East London Line and the likely arrival of CrossRail Phase II and a new Heathrow Link. In the circumstances, Network Rail’s refusal to consider substantial new funding to enlarge and improve the station’s facilities within the next funding period (RP5) is inexplicable.
Theresa also spoke of the need for longer rail franchises to encourage strategic planning and investment. Certainly it has been our experience that Network Rail are all too able to palm off responsibility for Clapham Junction to South West Trains and Southern Railways, neither of whom appear much interested in making any substantial investment in the station. One of the greatest problems is that Clapham Junction is not recognised as a ‘major station’ and is not therefore within Network Rail’s direct funding programme. We all agreed that this was incredible given that Clapham Junction is already amongst the UK’s busiest stations as well as being the largest interchange station in Europe.
We toured the station with Theresa commenting particularly on the tiny station entrance through the Stop Shop! Jane and I pointed out the bottleneck areas through the ticket barriers and the meagre ticketing facilities which result in massive queues for the ticket machines every Monday morning. The tunnel rendered her speechless (or perhaps her thoughts had just wandered for a while?) and then, just as we were pointing out the massive gap on Platform 16, a train pulled in disgorging leaping passengers and people bearing suitcases who had to be helped off. I emphasised that at CJAG’s meeting with Network Rail in January, they stated that the funding previously allocated to address the gap on Platforms 15-17 had now been withdrawn, regardless of the obvious safety issues.
The conversation turned to public/private funding for rail initiatives with both Jane and Theresa emphasising that there would almost certainly need to be an element of commercial/residential use if the station was to be developed in any major way. CJAG agrees that this might be inevitable, but believes strongly that any redevelopment should be Network Rail led, with the needs of commuters being placed first. I said that proposals such as Delancey’s which would have turned the site into a massive shopping centre and residential complex, with the station being booted up the hill to make way for it, were rightly turned down for failing to address this. Given Clapham Junction’s location and character, I emphasised that it was highly unlikely that any predominantly private scheme would serve the needs of commuters, and it was up to Network Rail to look for private sector contributions – not the other way around. Theresa appeared to agree with this and mentioned how Birmingham New Street was an example of imbalance between commercial and transport uses, with the station resembling a large shopping centre. (Mental note – must get up to Birmingham to have a proper look.)
I really enjoyed meeting Theresa and extend massive thanks to Jane for giving us such a fantastic opportunity to make our case in front of (possibly) the next Secretary of State for Transport. I can’t wait for 6th May to see what happens!
Author: Cyril Richert
Residents of Mossbury road, Falcon road and area have recently received a leaflet presenting a proposed development of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road.
The site is currently occupied by a five storey office building, of mid-20th century origin. The site is within the Clapham Junction Conservation Area, and viewable in the context of the Grade II listed Falcon Public House, and the Grade II Listed Arding & Hobbs (now Debenhams) department store. It is proposed to demolish the existing 5 storey building and erect a 7 storey replacement + 2 Victorian style properties.
- size of the building (16 storey building);
- the proposed development does not respect the historical and architectural homogeneity of its neighbouring buildings;
- noise and disturbance in parking caused by a 132 room hotel (potential noise from the delivery vans, servicing, etc);
- increase traffic all along the road (proposed entrance on Mossbury, a one way residential street) and create additional pressure on the limited parking.
Oak Trading Co Ltd have now prepared a completely revised scheme, which has recently been submitted for Planning Consent (I couldn’t find the reference number on the Council’s website), and may be summarised as follows (extract from the developer’s brochure):-
- The structural elements of the existing building are to be retained but the existing building will be comprehensively refurbished, including complete recladding and extended (including 3 additional floors) to provide a 70 room hotel (approximately half the height of the previous scheme).
- The main entrance to the hotel will be from Falcon Road (not Mossbury Road as per the previous application).
- There will still be a commercial shop/restaurant unit on the ground floor but this will be independent from the hotel and, as before, its entrance will also be from Falcon Road.
- A separate application is to be submitted shortly for a residential redevelopment of the car park which, although adjoining the hotel, will also be independent from the hotel/commercial unit. This building has been designed to harmonise with the existing terrace of houses in Mossbury Road and will comprise 3 x 1 bedroom and 3 x 2 bedroom flats over three floors.
This building will also provide an appropriate buffer/transition between the existing terrace of houses and the proposed hotel and is of the same scale as the existing buildings higher up Mossbury Road and stepping down with the contours.
The least we can say is that the developers listened carefully to all arguments and tried to address each of them in their new proposal.
- Size of the building: it is now a 7 8 storey building (instead of 16)
- Conservation area: the new building is much smaller and based on a comprehensive refurbishment of the existing building. The proposed overall height of the development will be lower than the existing building which is immediately opposite it in Falcon Road. In addition 2 Victorian style residential developments will be build, similar to the one existing in Mossbury road.
- Noise and disturbance: there will be less servicing (such as refuse collection, deliveries etc.) to the new scheme because the hotel is about half the previous size and secondly, because there are no “in-house” café/ restaurant/bar facilities.
- Increase traffic and parking in a small one way residential road: the main entrance to the hotel will be from Falcon Road (not Mossbury Road as per the previous application).
You will find below a few images from the developer’s leaflet.
As we did last year, we will try to meet with the developers as soon as possible. Of course we will have in view our recent comments and representation on the Site Specific Documents for Clapham Junction area. However we can already praise the work done by the developers in listening and addressing the concerns and objections raised by their previous application.