CJAG proposal: the response from Wandsworth Council

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:

  1. Complete the East London Line extension to Clapham Junction
  2. Connect Clapham Junction to the Underground
  3. A new station entrance to St John’s Hill via Brighton Yard
  4. Improve the station environment and facilities
  5. Provide new rail services to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports
  6. Improve the routes between the town centre and the station
  7. Improve interchange between rail, bus services, taxis and cycling
  8. Increase the capacity of the station
  9. Improve train frequencies
  10. 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.

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