Archive for January, 2012
Author: Cyril Richert
I am convinced that the Internet is a great tool to spread local democracy and free views. By publishing and commenting all local information we may find related to Clapham Junction, that’s what we are trying to encourage here.
I am used to follow a few sites to be informed on activities of Wandsworth Council, and Wandsworth borough and a few weeks ago I discovered that a few more Councillors have decided to publish their views on blogs (and it makes a very interesting reading). Below is a list of what I gathered (feel free to add other interesting sites in comments).
- Cllr James Cousins – Shaftesbury Ward (oldest blog I know, since Nov 2008!)
- Cllr Tony Belton – Latchmere Ward (since Oct 2011 – Welcome!)
- Cllr Simon Hogg- Latchmere Ward (since Sept 2011 – Welcome!)
Amenities Societies and groups:
I’ve just found it today, but I am very pleased to discover that debates in the Wandsworth Council are published in videos:
Author: Cyril Richert
A report released by a consulting company and commissioned by Network Rail, insists on the multiple benefits of station investment: it stimulates economic growth, exceed the benefits of standard transport investment, increase property values.
I was contacted in July 2011 by Steer Davies Gleave (international transport consultants) to give the views of the group on Clapham Junction Station redevelopment. The aim of their study was to quantify the local and national benefits from station investment, particularly focusing on broader impacts on regeneration, development, land use and other wider effects.
The final report has now been released. The headline findings and full report can be found on the Steer Davies Gleave website, but they expect Network Rail to publish the document at some point in due course.
The report published seeks:
- To investigate the commercial potential of station development;
- To quantify, as far as possible, the impact of station investment on the economy; and,
- To identify the implications for future station investment.
Based on interviews with over 60 stakeholders (but focusing often on Manchester Piccadilly, Sheffield Station Gateway Project or Birmingham New Street, which give good example of the broad impact of regeneration), and economic modelling and case study investigations, the key findings of the research were:
- Stations can have a major impact on the towns and cities that they serve, often acting as regional gateways, helping to stimulate economic growth and attract businesses.
- The productivity benefit associated with increased development around stations enabled by station investment can exceed those benefits estimated by traditional transport appraisal techniques by 5 to 7 times.
- Investment in Sheffield Station and the surrounding area contributed to a 67% increase in the rateable value of property within 400 metres of the stations between 2003 and 2008 – three times the average increase for Sheffield over the same time period.
- Investment in Manchester Piccadilly Station has similarly helped to create 650,000 square feet of new and refurbished office space and to increase property values by some 33%.
- Obtaining maximum value from station investment often requires supporting investment in the area surrounding a station, especially where there is a legacy of under-investment in adjacent land and property.
- At the same time, station investment can act as a catalyst to broader development providing there is an appropriate balance between railways’ operational, commercial and regeneration objectives.
- Almost all stakeholders interviewed identified the significant contribution that railway stations can make in attracting inward investment to a city or region.
A parliamentary report suggested that transport improvements should be aimed at “tackling problems and shortages”. Over the £35b funding available to NR for the period 2009-2014, a third is to be spent specifically on increasing capacity (either through major projects such as Thameslink, £2.7 billion, or Crossrail, or through smaller-scale investments).
Clapham Junction, named the second worse station in the country last year, has already been listed to recieve some money from that pot with a few projects to lengthen platforms:
- Prior approval applications for lengthening platforms 3 and 4 (October 2010), and 1 and 2 (2011) have been determined. This will allow South West Train to operate 10 car local services;
- The lengthening of platform 15 is due to be determined shortly.
Network Rail is also considering further plans to extend platform 17 and for congestion relief for their next funding period 2014-19, according to a letter received from Wandsworth Council.
The first words of the report highlight the importance of rail-stations:
“The rail network makes an unrivalled contribution to the sustainable growth of the UK economy, providing millions of people with access to jobs, goods and services. There is no more visible evidence of this contribution than that afforded by the role of railway stations in their communities.”
As stated in the document, the study is not about operational improvements (changes to
the number and / or configuration of platforms, frequency of trains…) such as what is planned for Clapham Junction currently, which relates to train services. It is focusing on passengers flow, increasing the overall capacity of the station… etc.
The study says:
“In principle, various improvements can be made to a station in order to increase passenger satisfaction with the environment. These include changes designed to increase the level of natural light within station building and below station canopies, measures to remove clutter and improve sightlines within and between the different areas of the station, and better signage to assist way finding. Such investment will invariably improve passengers’ sense of well-being, making them feel more comfortable and, as discussed further below, potentially more inclined to use retail, catering and other facilities. Further, in certain circumstances it may also encourage a ‘sense of place’, with the result that the station becomes a destination in its own right rather than a transitory stage in a journey. [...]
Improvements in access can include a range of measures providing for better connections between a station and the surrounding area or quicker onward connections to other destinations. These may take the form of new pedestrian links, better way finding. [...]
Effective exploitation of commercial opportunities in and around a station will generally have a direct impact on the level of economic activity in the area that it serves, stimulating investment as well as creating employment . [...] “
Beside the passenger experience, it gives example with the benefits of enhancing the retail (Birmingham High Street) or Offices (London Bridge, Cannon Street) as well as mix use developments. But it also highlights the ongoing need to take account of planning issues, warning scheme promoters that they should not assume that regenerative impacts will necessarily outweigh other concerns.
Those are many of the things that we have raised in our proposal, and that we would like the Council to address with a broader vision.
Author: Cyril Richert
I have attended the last meeting organized by Wandsworth Living Streets (I must disclose that I am also one of their members). Patrick Langley (Arboricultural Manager, Wandsworth Council) gave a talk about trees in Wandsworth. Here are some facts:
- 15,000 trees in Wandsworth streets (28,000 in Croydon and 33,000 in Lambeth)
+ 20,000 Housing
+ 15,000 Parks (exclude Clapham Common, managed by Lambeth)
- 2 year programme inspection
- 4 inspectors
- Cost is £400,000 for 1 year for 50% of the borough trees (therefore a full inspection is £800k over 2 years).
Interesting comment made during the meeting, as the discussion went on the Peabody project: contrary to our feedback from the public exhibition, it seems clear that “the trees are not a priority for the developers“, which put in perspective the elements presented by Peabody to explain their concern on landscape and environment!
Author: Cyril Richert
“A second south London rail operator has announced plans to use longer trains on local commuter services. Southern Railways has now confirmed it is ordering extra carriages for rush hour services in December 2013 meaning thousands more Wandsworth residents can now look forward to a more comfortable journey to work.” according to Wandsworth Council’s press release.
South West Trains (SWT) was the first operator to announce last months plans to lengthen (from eight to ten carriages from May 2013) some of its rush hour services on routes from Windsor, Hounslow and Weybridge to and from Waterloo. These services stop at Putney, Wandsworth Town, Clapham Junction and Queenstown Road Stations and are used every weekday by thousands of local residents. Extra trains will make use of platform 20 at the former Waterloo International Terminal (former Eurostar platforms)
It follows confirmation from Wandsworth Council that prior approval applications for lengthening platforms 3 and 4 (October 2010), and 1 and 2 (2011) have been determined and they are still expecting this to be completed by 2014 to enable 10 car local services to be operated as planned (in the original plans Network Rail was talking about platforms 11/12 and 13/14 but decided to cancel the work).
But many Clapham Junction users won’t find any relief to their daily agony as trains to Waterloo on platform 10 are not part of the plan, while the queue to board the carriages is frequently extending now to the stairs accessing the platform!
Author: Cyril Richert
Following the dossier published by the Clapham Junction Action Group on the redevelopment of Clapham Junction station, Barry Sellers, Wandsworth Council officer, sent an answer on January 5th, 2012. We thank him for taking the time to address our queries and the opportunity to discuss the mater.
His response highlight the 10-point plan set out by the Council in 2011 for the station:
- Complete the East London Line extension to Clapham Junction
- Connect Clapham Junction to the Underground
- A new station entrance to St John’s Hill via Brighton Yard
- Improve the station environment and facilities
- Provide new rail services to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports
- Improve the routes between the town centre and the station
- Improve interchange between rail, bus services, taxis and cycling
- Increase the capacity of the station
- Improve train frequencies
- Improve public transport information and convenience of ticketing
The letter claims point 3 has been completed. Indeed there is a new entrance via Brighton Yard as we reported in May last year. The East London Line extension to Clapham Junction (1) should be completed by December 2012.
We were told by Network Rail (NR) in a meeting in January 2010 that the £20m allocated to platform lengthening and straightening at CJ was no longer considered necessary and went back to the pot of funding for all Sussex lines. However as the letter says that Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) still expect the work to be completed, the difference might be hiding in details. In the original plans NR was talking about platforms 11/12 and 13/14. Platform 15 was already scheduled and WBC confirms now that application for platform 15 is (only?) due to be determined shortly. We assume that platform 1/2 was also made necessary with the East London line extension and further plans. In any case initial funding was meant to be allocated to work completing in 2013. The letter is now talking about 2014…
WBC is not aware of plans to run Thameslink trains as we stated in our dossier. Again here it might be a question of vocabulary as it might have be re-allocated/re-denominated as Airtrack or Overground…
Works to accommodate the East London Line Overground Service from Surrey Quays is currently underway. We were told by other sources that changes to stairs became necessary to accommodate security regulation, which was not forecast in the initial plans. We are now told that the work also involves alterations to the Grant Road entrance to the station and a new lift to platforms 1 and 2 (current application 2011/5462). This is very good news, but we regret that instead of being properly planned and foreseen some years ago when NR and WBC started to think of the redevelopment of the station (as we were told that Delancey’s plan of Twin Towers was once-in-a-life-time opportunity and now or never!), it was all rushed by the East London Line extension regulations.
Instead of “patching” Grant Road entrance, why is there no plan to redevelop the entrance completely with a new hall?
The letter elaborates also the progress on Airtack and Crossrail2 that we have already presented in a recent article.
External growth presented in the dossier is of course related to the existing or planned proposals that raised for the last few years. It does not take into account hypothetic assumptions made by WBC in its Site Specific Allocation Document (SSAD) such as the re-alignment of Falcon lane as we have already demonstrated the uncertainty of the idea.
Regarding improvement of St Johns Hill entrance, the letter point out the current changes made on the pavements by the Exemplar scheme, due to be completed (on this part) in 2012.
We all agree that Clapham Junction is deserving of a building of architectural.
However there is no answer or hint from WBC to promote any major improvement including a new main hall with a complete redesign of Clapham Junction Station. Instead it seems that WBC prefers to concentrate on smaller (thus more achievable indeed) goals on the short term, which they can claim credit for at the election term, without any consideration for a global vision on the longer future of Clapham Junction station (there is indeed no such word in the 10-point plan!).
Although we appreciate the efforts made to improve the station, the current measures are only “patches” and we will continue to lobby the Council for a more ambitious proposal.
You can read and download the full answer from Wandsworth Council HERE.
Author: Cyril Richert
The proposal – which is based on BAA’s Airtrack scheme – should provide 4 trains an hour from Waterloo to Terminal 5 with stops at Clapham Junction (and Putney). At the end of October 2011 a Council’s press release announced update and changes to the plans for a new direct rail service from south London to Heathrow.
Wandsworth has come up with a new plan – called Airtrack-Lite – that routes two trains an hour from Waterloo via the Hounslow loop. Two existing services on the Waterloo-Windsor line would split at Staines to provide a further direct link to Terminal Five.
The new scheme would require a new station at Staines and a new stretch of track from here to Terminal 5. The rest of the route would run along existing lines.
The plans avoid routeing extra trains through level crossings in Mortlake and Egham, which was apparently a key problem with the original scheme which was scrapped by BAA in April.
We reported on the plan more than 2 years ago when we presented the original Airtrack plan linking Clapham Junction directly to Heathrow.
The council is now discussing the case for Airtrack-Lite with the Department for Transport but, even minimal, the new scheme requires a new station and tracks and is unlikely to be completed before 2014.
Although it is rather confusing and a bit complicated, Wandsworth Council corrected us recently on the difference between Airtrack and CrossRail2, as we wrote in our dossier: “Another name given to the Airtrack project above is Crossrail 2“. As we explained in a previous article, CrossRail2 proposes a tunnel from Euston/Kings Cross via Victoria to Clapham Junction. However the scheme shows further lines towards Clapham Junction and therefore Airtrack.
Author: Cyril Richert
One year since my last meeting … I must say that I have not been very assiduous.
Below are my observations. In dark red are personal comments.
Phase 2 is on going. Main road-work was meant to finish before Xmas (including clean path in front of Debenhams) with temporary traffic light in place. It was meant to resume on January 9th starting in Lavender Hill from the Mossbury Road corner (KFC).
Due to the Olympic Games, work is due to stop before June with all footway (including the space made in front of the Revolution pub) in place this summer. The permission for outside tables and sitting for the pub is still under discussion.
- Phase 2b (after summer) should include the pavement in front of Windsor Castle pub, Mossbury Road and Falcon Road (up to the bridge where pavement has already been re-done).
- Phase 3 (2013): St Johns Road (full carriageway)
- Phase 4 (2014): Lavender Hill and St John’s Hill (up to crossing with Plough road).
Martin Johnson, Northcote Cllr, made a comments regarding the “seedy” stainless bins. The Council officers are aware of the “unacceptable situation” and are dealing with the issue.
Xmas lights in Clapham Junction area:
In view of budget restriction, there is a strong possibility that Council’s funding for Christmas lights will be withdrawn next year. The current cost (storage + electricity + manpower to set it up) is £20,000 with additional funding of Battersea High Street, Battersea Park and Northcote Road of £10k each. Steve Orne, St John’s Hill Business Association representative, enquired for the possibility of businesses to take over the cost not paid by the Council.
Battersea Power Station:
Treasury Holdings UK, the owner of Battersea Power Station, has been put under administration at the end of the year.
Not only does it raise immediate question on the future of Nine Elms redevelopment scheme (at least the collapse of the redevelopment plans for the iconic building of the area should motivate some changes), but it has also direct consequences to the Clapham Junction Town Centre Partnership Board: Sarah Banham was also chairing the Board as Associate Director of Development at Treasury Holdings UK, which is no longer active in Battersea. I assume that an election will take place next meeting ?
Rebranding Clapham Junction:
A marketing company Halogen was engaged to work out a plan for marketing Clapham Junction. The proposed name is: the Junction (getting rid of Clapham will certainly please Battersea lovers, who celebrated recently another victory in correcting Google Map).
The plan centres on the issues discussed by the Board at the last meeting: putting vinyl’s on vacant Lavender Hill shops, Christmas events, improved web site, branding of Clapham Junction, posters and leaflets etc. Feedback on Battersea High Street and Clapham Junction Centre Christmas events has been very good. Idea is to brand events under the ‘At the Junction’ brand. Another project is a phone app for the junction, places to see, things to do etc.
Next meeting will be in February (dates here).