We had a huge turn-out of 230 residents at the Public Meeting I arranged this week on Crossrail 2. Below is the summary of the current consultation, the meeting information and what this mean for us as Tooting residents.
What is Crossrail 2 and why build it?
Crossrail 2 is a new north-south train line running through London, travelling underground for most of its length. It is a huge project - estimated to cost around £27 billion – and if commissioned will be the largest transportation project built in London for the next decade.
There are several main benefits:
Bring faster, better, more sustainable travel: providing quicker, less crowded, and more environmentally friendly journeys
- Support economic growth and regeneration – in London and nationally
- Unlock more affordable homes, connecting vital new areas for development
- Deliver value for money, ensuring Crossrail 2’s benefits outweigh its costs
- Benefit all of the UK, supporting new jobs and improved connections across the country.
The initial consultation, held in early 2014, achieved over 90% support from the public.
The route through London
The route as proposed will start at Wimbledon and travel north through the centre of London through to Tottenham / Southgate. The first few stops are Wimbledon-Tooting Broadway-Clapham Junction-Chelsea- and the full route can be seen here - http://crossrail2.co.uk/the-route/
This means Tooting residents will be able to get to Clapham Junction in 4 mins, Chelsea in 8 minutes and Euston/Kings Cross in just 20 minutes. And I suspect you’ll be able to get a seat too!
Crossrail 2 will relieve over-crowding that we have all faced when using our existing train, tube and bus routes in the Tooting area.
The high-level route and stations for Crossrail 2 have been subject to two consultations, in 2013 and 2014, with over 90% and 80% support from the public respectively. This is higher than the typical level of support received for such projects.
The proposed route through Tooting constituency
TfL is still working to refine the details of the route, and more information will be shared in a public consultation later this year. However, an indication of where the route could run through Tooting has been published as part of the safeguarding consultation currently underway. It is however provisional and subject to feedback received.
You can see the proposed safeguarded route in detail here:
By way of a summary, the route enters Tooting on the Longley Road end of Tooting High Street, travels north close to the high street up to Hebdon Road, veers west a little underneath Springfield Hospital and directly underneath the Burntwood Lane/Trinity Road junction, before passing under Wandsworth Common all the way up to the Spencer Park Rd / A3 junction.
It is entirely underground through our area, but there are 4 areas of surface interest (‘ASIs’) where access shafts will be built to help with construction, ventilation etc. It was clear from the public meeting that these are the main areas of controversy for our area, with residents wishing to minimise disruption and loss of green space.
The 4 ASIs are:
- Just behind Tooting Broadway station (on the south side)
- Next to Tooting Market, on Totterdown Street
- On Trinity Fields (on the Burntwood Lane / Trinity Road junction)
- Next to Skylark Café in Wandsworth Common.
Crossrail 2 will be very high capacity, using new 250m long trains. These would be similar to the ones that will be used on Crossrail 1 when it opens and significantly larger than Tube trains. It will operate up to 30 trains per hour in each direction, providing provide capacity for over 45,000 people per hour, in each direction.
Timeline for Crossrail 2
This is a long-term project! The approximate timescale is to start building in 2020 and open it to the public in 2030. But the planning is being done in the next few years.
Prior to project sign-off and construction in 2020, we will see several consultations performed and each stage will need be approved by the Government of the day, not least because the line will require significant public investment. You can see the full timeline here http://crossrail2.co.uk/next-steps/ and read more about funding options here http://crossrail2.co.uk/funding/
The current consultation is on the safeguarding process, with the next consultation – due later this year – to focus more on the exact siting of the surface infrastructure (ASIs). As such, this year will be a very important one to ensure Tooting residents have their voices heard and the scheme modified accordingly.
Current consultation on safeguarding
Transport infrastructure takes a long time to plan for, during which time, the space required above and below ground needs to be ‘safeguarded’ in case the project does get approved for build.
Safeguarding is a formal process, undertaken by the Department for Transport (DfT), to protect land required for major new infrastructure projects from future development. You can submit your comments on the safeguarding process at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/crossrail2-consultation . The Safeguarding Directions, made by the Secretary of State for Transport, will instruct local planning authorities to consult Transport for London (TfL) on planning applications for land within the safeguarded area.
Residents should write it with their views on the safeguarding arrangements for Crossrail 2 by Wednesday 28th January. The results of the consultation will be published in the spring.
As it stands, the safeguarding will mean that TfL will be able to instruct the local authority to modify or refuse a planning application in the safeguarded area if it would conflict with the construction of Crossrail 2. The safeguarding will also show up on Land Registry searches undertaken by parties when considering property developments and transactions.
The tunnel will likely pass 20-30 metres under the ground. As such, the safeguarding is aimed at major developments with deep foundations and this means that relatively few planning applications from residents will be impacted. Understandably though, concerns over the tunnelling itself have been raised by many residents.
Reassuringly, we heard at the meeting from one of the managers working on Crossrail 1 – which is now partly constructed – that there have been very, very few property owners who have noticed the tunnelling at all. Furthermore, the tunnel is bored at quite a fast rate, meaning that it will pass under an individual house in approximately one day.
‘Blight’ is the name given to describe property owners who are disadvantaged financially by a planning issue, for example, having their planning application turned down or a property sale reduced in value.
The Crossrail 2 team have confirmed that there will be a process put in place for residents to apply for compensation in the event that they have suffered planning blight due to the Crossrail 2 safeguarding.
You can read more about Blight, and other safeguarding issues, http://crossrail2.co.uk/faq/
Exact route through Tooting and Wandsworth Common
This is the topic causing the most concern for local residents, but please note that this is not being finalised in the current consultation. While we can provide our feedback on this topic now, the detailed research by the Crossrail 2 team will take place through this year and then be publicly consulted on late in 2015.
The main point of concern is the location of the Areas of Surface Interest (ASIs), which are the points where construction activity will be most concentrated in our area. This therefore has the potential to displace other activities currently taking place at those sites, create pollution, traffic and safety risks, and remove green space. They are absolutely necessary though since access shafts must exist to ensure the railway can operate safely, by providing access to the emergency services and ventilation of the tunnel.
As noted at the Public Meeting and in subsequent correspondence I have had with Crossrail 2, the tunnel’s safeguarded area is about 100 metres wide through Tooting constituency, but only about 30 meters width will ultimately be needed for the train tunnel. This gives flexibility as to where the exactly the tunnel lies within the safeguarding area. We have been informed that the stations and precise route alignment are not yet finalised, so the safeguarding area may change again in the future as the project progresses.
The ASIs would ideally be located directly above the tunnel, ie in the safeguarded area, but it is possible that some could be located in close proximity just outside of it, if there is a strong justification for this, it was feasible from an engineering perspective and still allowed for the safe operation of the railway.
The key point I would make here is that there is some flexibility. At this stage, the DfT has only done desk-based research and a few site visits to each part of the proposed route, ie enough to draw up a feasible plan, but not enough to understand ‘micro’ issues in the locality. Therefore, the Crossrail 2 team welcomes feedback from residents on potential adjustments that could be made to the route, ASIs and construction access such that a better plan be created.
Construction activity at the ASIs will take place at some stage between 2020 and 2030, but the likely start date and duration are not yet known. However, Crossrail 2 suggested at the Public Meeting that the construction area at each ASI could be in the region of 3,000 sq metres (a little under half the size of a football pitch), although not all of this area would necessarily be used.
Environmental pollution, such as dust, will be subject to a detailed plan that will have to be agreed with the local authority before going ahead. Again, more information will be forthcoming on this in the fullness of time.
Construction work will be temporary of course, but some permanent features will be left at each site, e.g. ventilation shafts. These are much smaller and can be landscaped to better fit in with the local environment.
As construction activity is likely to cause disruption for local residents, I will be focusing a lot of my time on this issue and will provide more information on this topic as I receive it. Working together I believe we can get plans agreed with the Crossrail 2 team that minimise the inconvenience experienced by local people.
My suggestions for your consultation response
Although the current consultation is on safeguarding only, I urge residents to also submit their views on the exact route, the location of the ASIs and the construction activity. Crossrail 2 have confirmed to me that they will consider such feedback even at this early stage.
I would suggest therefore that you email these consultation responses to firstname.lastname@example.org , splitting your response into ‘Safeguarding consultation’ and ‘Other comments’ section if you're covering both. I have been assured that if you ask a question, you will receive a response (albeit not necessarily an immediate one given the scale of this consultation).
Please also cc me (email@example.com) on your response, so that I can maintain a file of all feedback from residents in the constituency and ensure we have our voices heard.
Remember that if you wish to make a full response on the safeguarding process itself, then the DfT consultation portal is at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/crossrail2-consultation
I think Crossrail 2 has the potential to deliver significant benefits for residents and businesses in our area, across London and nationally.
At the same time, it needs to be implemented carefully, and I will work hard with local residents to ensure that the final route and construction plans reflect local concern and disruption is minimised. This is particularly critical in Wandsworth Common, where residents wish to see changes to the location of the ASIs, and I am lobbying Crossrail 2 accordingly.
I hope you have found this useful and feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments you have.