Blackmail

In response to our questions about the station of Clapham Junction redevelopment, the Council told us that there is only a choice between:

  • either the construction of the 2 skyscrapers of 42 storey each + refurbishment of the station,
  • or nothing at all for the next 30 years.

In fact, none of this is necessary: an alternative planning exists

Network Rail’s Strategic Plan for the station has committed to the provision of a new entrance, additional passage capacity and improved access by rafting over the station.

P77: In the medium to longer term further growth requires key capacity constraints to be addressed such as London Bridge, Waterloo and Clapham Junction.

P81: Clapham Junction Remodelling: Track layout changes to provide straightening of platforms 14 to 17 and lengthening of all platforms is proposed to facilitate train lengthening. In addition the provision of additional passenger capacity and improved access by rafting over the station and providing a new entrance to the station. Remodelling of the depot access would be required due to the extension of platforms 7 and 8.

The extension of the East London Line (that could reach Clapham Junction by 2015-2018) requires it as the station is already running at capacity.

The present proposals are nothing more than an opportunity for Network Rail to save money by joining forces with a commercial developer whose sole interest is to maximise the retail and letting potential of the site to the detriment of the local community and rail passengers.

This is written in black and white in the Network Rail Strategic Business Plan October 2007:

P157: We are also exploring opportunities with privatepartner investors to develop significant station improvements at the following stations:
• Victoria;
• […]
• Clapham Junction.

Last but not least, remember, back in November 2006, that plans were slightly different, not involving any towers, as the Council was talking about:

[…]

8. Create an additional station entrance on St John’s Hill to ease overcrowding.
The council has proposed reopening the old station entrance at the top of St John’s Hill from Brighton Yard. This would provide direct access onto the station footbridge which is planned to have lifts serving each platform. The new entrance would relieve much of the existing congestion – particularly if some of the bus stops and cycle parking could also be relocated. […]

The DfT has now confirmed plans to install lifts from the overbridge to the platforms. The council will insist that this includes a new entrance at Brighton Yard.

9. Improve the station environment.
All aspects of the waiting environment at Clapham Junction and other local stations should be reviewed. Passenger safety is the main concern. This can be achieved through higher staffing levels, improved security and lighting and better information for customers.

Facilities at all local stations should be reviewed, including drop off points for cars, taxi/minicab ranks, shelters, cycle parking and clear signage for bus services.

The new South West Trains franchisee holder promises £40m of station improvements including better lighting, booking halls and waiting rooms. The council is trying to establish which local stations will benefit. Commuters will see extra staff at stations and guards and CCTV on every train.

Have your say and let the Council know your views!

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