The revamp of South Kensington Station has been put on pause by Transport for London due to its funding problems that have arisen from the coronavirus pandemic.
A report released on July 24 by TfL said this was because the cost of the projects has “exceeded original project funding”.
The improvements to the station, which were given planning permission in 2018, included:
- A revival of the station’s north-side platform
- A redesign of its main ticket hall
- Replacing it canopy
A separate planning application was submitted in June by TfL, in a joint partnership with Native Land, to redevelop buildings connected to the station in Thurloe Street and Pelham Street, and a new entrance from Thurloe Street. A TfL spokesperson said this will be unaffected by today’s announcement.
A statement from TfL said its finances were stable before the pandemic. It said it had made savings of £1 billion and had cash reserves of more than £2 billion.
The £1 billion savings have been made since 2015, when the Government changed the way TfL gets its funding. The transport body used to get the majority of its money from the Government, but this was vastly reduced with the intention that TfL should instead be reliant on its own revenue streams, such as ticket fares, rents from station shops and building properties on its portfolio of land.
Since the lockdown, TfL has lost fare revenue from the huge fall in people using public transport, which looks set to continue.
The Government responded by pumping £1.6 billion into TfL, plus a £300 million loan which will last it until October.
TfL said it will need £3.2 billion across the 2020/21 financial year to stay afloat, and £2.9 billion for 2021/22.
Among the major projects that TfL says it will continue are:
- Upgrades to Bank Station
- The Northern Line extension to Battersea and Nine Elms
- New trains on the Piccadilly Line
In a separate statement made yesterday, the board of Crossrail announced that it too will be delayed beyond its rescheduled opening of summer next year. A new arrival time was not stated.
By LDRS Reporter Owen Sheppard