The publication of TfL’s latest Consultation Report on Crossrail 2 has re-awakened debate over the proposed King’s Road station. The report, which was released on the 16th March, showed only a tenth of the ‘general comments’ about the station to be supportive. The majority of unsupportive comments, which totalled almost 9,000, were concerned with conservation and heritage.
Other issues included the projected cost outweighing benefits, and the potential for building work to disrupt services in the area, particularly local hospitals.
“It is clear there is no transport or business case for Crossrail 2,” said Chris Lenon, Chair of the No Crossrail in Chelsea campaign. “In the face of this overwhelming opposition, we believe TfL and the Mayor are duty bound to scrap the proposal”.
His campaign has the support of over 10,000 local residents and 80 businesses.
Mr Lenon counts Kensington and Chelsea’s MP Greg Hands as a backer, saying “he favours an alternative site at Imperial Wharf”.
Meanwhile, The Communications Director of Chelsea 4 Crossrail 2, Doug Shaw, is still in favour of the divisive station. “It is very clear it will be discreet,” he said, “and it will not in any way dominate the skyline of the King’s Road”. Mr Shaw, who has lived in the Royal Borough since 1993, said he “does not want to risk Chelsea becoming a backwater”.
Most of the supportive comments in TfL’s report focused on the potential for a Crossrail 2 station to improve public transport and alleviate local traffic issues.
Those who live and work in the borough are divided. Michael, 32, who works for a PR firm close to the proposed site, said he “could not see a problem with making the western end of the King’s Road more accessible”.
However, Chelsea resident Charlotte, 23, said, “I think most people are more worried about the restaurants and pubs around the station losing their charm, rather than about traffic and the flow of people”.
In the report, 930 comments showed concern that a station on the King’s Road would “spoil the character” of the area.
Many local businesses are against the proposed station. However, 50 signatories including cultural, retail, and academic organisations wrote to the Mayor of London and TfL to express their support.
Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said, “for this area to continue to thrive, we need infrastructure that will keep up with London’s growth”.
Imperial College London also support the station, with Muir Sanderson, Chief Financial Officer, saying, “the increased connectivity would benefit the College community and encourage investment in the local area”.
George Osborne’s Budget has recently given the green light to Crossrail 2. The debate over the King’s Road station will no doubt continue.