Posts filed under ‘Station redevelopment’

Network Rail said: CJ has received already a lot of money, don’t expect more in the next 10 years!

Author: Cyril Richert

Meeting with Network Rail – 21 January 2010 – 1pm-2.30pm

Attendees:
Paula Haustead [Network Rail – in charge of delivering plans for CJ]
Lucy Norton [Network Rail]
Chris Wiggan [Network Rail]
Cyril Richert [CJAG]

1- Current situation

They have been deeply disappointed by the recommendation for refusal coming from the planning officers for the planning proposal from Metro Shopping Fund (Delancey). They said that (contrary to our sources) there was no plan for Clapham Junction before the Twin Towers (I was told not to use those cursed words) Delancey’s plan. Actually Network Rail (NR) worked since CP2 (Control Period 2 – funding period 2001-2004) and for 5 years (2004-2009) with Delancey and the Council to come up with a proposal. They also said that it was part of their instruction from Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to work with third parties and private investors.  The total cost of that study was £2m!

They are currently spending money on a new entrance (Brighton Yard entrance) which  will hopefully direct 30% of the flow of passengers entering or exiting the station at St John’s Hill currently. According to projections of ORR  it should cover up to the year 2026 when the same level of congestion currently experienced will be observed again.

The East London Line will arrive in platform 2 (instead of 1 as originally planned) and wCJ-platform1ill be sharing with the over-ground. Platform 1 will stay unused as it is. However they are likely to keep the track in case it is needed in the future.

Plans for Heathrow link are still under discussions and there is no confirmation that it will stop at Clapham Junction (again, this is not what we heard).

The number of overground trains going to and coming from Willesden Junction should double (NR proposes to restore double track to the “Latchmere Curve” during the summer of 2010. This will enable the frequency of overground services to Willesden Junction to be increased to 4 trains per hour from 2011).

2- On going improvements

The cost of the new entrance is £1.5m with £500k coming from the government, £300k from the Council (not redirected from the Exemplar Scheme as we might have suspected previously) and £700k coming from various funding, including TfL and London Heritage (?). NR made very clear that it was the only station in the all country with “Access for All” scheme providing a new entrance.

From the £2m planned for cosmetic improvement (repainting, lightening, canopies,…) some will be redirected to pay for the Brighton Yard entrance (as a cost example, a single ticket barrier is £30k). The global funding for Brighton Yard was overseen by an industry group called The Clapham Junction Forum made by NR, London Underground, TfL, SWT, Southern.

Lifts are currently installed on all platforms (part of the “Access for All” government policy). Original funding from the government was £8.5m but they think now that costs will exceed this amount. Work is meant to finish in June 2010 and at the same time a temporary “smaller” station entrance for Brighton Yard will be opened (example of what it coult be in the picture below).

Brighton Yard - new entranceBrighton Yard - new station location

I asked them about the possibility to create a stair-case at the level of Brighton Yard entrance, coming from St John’s Hill (see current plans from NR HERE) to avoid going all along to reach the vehicle entrance. However they explained that:

  1. it is about 6m high and it seems to much;
  2. it would mean reallocating/6 month notice for the shop under the arches at the point;
  3. they do not have the funding.

They had some delays as they needed to destroy a café on platform 15/16 to install the lift. However as the whole station is in the Conservation area, it took an extensive (and difficult) 6 month period to get the necessary authorisation. Although the bridge is not listed, this experience makes it really unlikely that they will look for more amendments in the future.

Bus stops won’t be reallocated (road to narrow) but an additional bus stop will be created before the entrance coming from Wandsworth town.

The £20m allocated to platform lengthening and straightening at CJ is no longer considered necessary and goes back to the pot of funding for all Sussex lines! They managed to realign the platform 15/16 without the land that was meant to be provided with Delancey’s plan (no talks about platforms 11/12 and 13/14 which were in funding period CP4 2009-2013 – p63).

3- Presentation to Lord Adonis, January 20th

The Transport Secretary wanted to know what is happening after his announcement. At the meeting he requested (January 20th) were representations for the 10 stations included in the plan. Cllr Edward Lister (leader of Wandsworth Council) was also attending the meeting.

They confirmed that Clapham Junction has been defined as the most in need along with Manchester Victoria station (receiving £10m apparently). A decision was made to concentrate on a few major improvements instead of spreading the funding on a lick of paint (although you could spend £2m repainting CJ station, they said).

As was reported by Martin Linton before, they suggested spending the funding on facilities for passengers inside the station, mainly platforms 9/10, 11/12, 13/14:

  • Canopy extension.
  • Waiting rooms.
  • More staff.
  • More stairs (from the overpass).
  • Repairs on subway.

No plans for station concourse, entrance refurbishment/extension.

As we already urged Lord Adonis to better use the funding for providing a more ambitious vision on the future of the station, I was told that:

  1. they were presented with reports (from South West Train?) from passenger demands for better platforms
  2. extending canopies will avoid people packing at the same points under adverse weather conditions and therefore will improve train usage
  3. NR has a mission to focus on train users and passenger needs, not residents. Therefore they shouldn’t be the prime initiator for CJ station regeneration.

I was told that those proposals were supported by South West Train, Southern, TfL and Wandsworth Council (Cllr Lister). You will notice that I asked if the Council thinks that providing waiting rooms and canopy extension (although very welcome) are much more important than refurbishment of Grant Road for example, I was quickly answered: “No, no, that’s not what I said“.

The CJ investment paper should be signed off mid/late February.

As shown on the picture taken the day of the meeting on platform 10 at Clapham Junction, they are already installing waiting area (probably part of the £2m “cosmetic” improvements). But NR was not aware of anything and surprised when I raised the point.

4- Regeneration of the station and CP5

As Robin Gisby will be in in charge of overseeing the current improvements, Paul Plummers should be in charge of defining next funding period for 2014-2019 also known as CP5.

However, it was repeated several times, there won’t be much allocation for Clapham Junction station in CP5 as it already received a lot currently!!!

NR said they do not see the £5-10m funding provided by Lord Adonis as an emergency funding to make the station – branded second worst in the country – up to a minimum standard. Therefore it might be seen by NR as a welcomed CP5 advance funding and could explain why they now consider that they will concentrate next funding effort on other stations.

Conclusion

It is clear that NR considers that its priority is for passengers, not residents. They said that the local authorities should take their responsibilities if they want to regenerate the area and provide with the necessary funding. Therefore they do not intend to come forward with any plan for making Clapham Junction a better station from the outside.

Of course they welcome any element of survey or consultation that we might present, but our discussion should also involve South West Train, Southern, Tfl, and local authorities. It seems that they won’t ask for any more funding for Clapham Junction station for CP5 if the Council does not come forward with some vision of what could be done and of course a beginning of a funding. After all, even if NR provided the biggest part of Birmingham New Street redevelopment, they were only focusing on the station and it was the local authorities who developed the vision, they added.

Therefore it looks like they put the ball into Wandsworth Borough Council hands now!

January 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm 5 comments

Meetings with rail officers

Author: Cyril Richert

Meeting with Office of Rail Regulation – 16 November 2009

Attendees:
John Larkinson [Deputy Director ORR]
Nick O’Hara [Head of Corporate and Industry Relations ORR]
Martin Linton [MP for Battersea]
Tony Belton [Leader of Opposition Wandsworth Borough Council]
Cyril Richert [CJAG]
Kate Williams [CJAG]

This meeting was organised by Martin Linton in view of exploring possible funding for the redevelopment of Clapham Junction Station.

We were explained the role of Office of Rail Regulation in regulating Network Rail and making sure that government plans, Network Rail commitment and funding are all addressing their purposes. The current phase of funding is 2009-2013. There are currently limited additional funding immediately available but which we can explore with Network Rail: Network Rail Discretionary Fund (NRDF) [each scheme must not exceed £5m] and National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) [£165m for 150 stations]. The new planning process for the next government is starting in 2010 such as:

  1. 2010: the industry will come with options (definition of projects and allocations).
  2. 2011: the government will examine a draft proposal.
  3. July 2012: the government will provide new specifications.
  4. 2013: ORR will review, analyse and check the funding for 2014-2019 (CP5).
  5. 2014: project implementation for CP5.

ORR was very receptive to our concerns and confirmed that Network Rail is the first contact to station redevelopment and has an obligation to address projects that they receive (they get a £50m budget to do so). Of course it would be worth to involve the franchise companies (South West Train, Southern) and TfL (for overground and East London Line).

Meeting with Network Rail – 7 January 2010

Martin Linton met with Robin Gisby (Network Rail – Director, Operation and Customer Services) along with colleagues Timothy Potter and Paula Haustead, Lucy Norton (who will be responsible for delivering any improvement project to redevelop the station). Unfortunately, despite Martin Linton’s request, Robin Gisby’s office did not find appropriate for us to attend the meeting, but instead offered another date (to our request) in January (see below).

NR confirmed that Clapham Junction station was their top 2 priority (after Manchester Victoria station , officially branded worst station in Britain in November 2009, which will receive also additional funding from the European Union through their Council). The debate is apparently going on whether to redevelop half of the station well or all of it half-good (er, it is actually more a question of 10% redevelopment or all the station with small repairs and cosmetic improvements I think). NR should present a plan to Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary, on January 20th regarding:

  • Canopy extension.
  • Waiting rooms.
  • More staff.
  • More stairs (from the overpass).
  • Repairs on subway.

The “not so good” news is that only 3 lifts should be in operation (platforms 1/2, 3/4, 5/6) with an additional two coming soon (platforms 7/8, 9/10) but there are delays on the remaining (platforms 11/12, 13/14, 15/16, 17). In addition, as the Brighton Yard building is currently used as a construction site for storage mainly, work for the new station entrance is being delayed and should only be finished by 2011 (which means that CJ won’t be step free before this date).

January 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Letter to Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary

London, 13 January 2010

Dear Lord Adonis

Mr Linton has kindly agreed to deliver this letter to you, and we hope very much that you will consider it carefully and reply in due course.

We are a local action group committed to improving conditions at Clapham Junction Station. Last year we were instrumental in stopping a commercial development of the station site which, in the opinion of the many hundreds of residents who took the trouble to write letters to Wandsworth Council, would have done nothing to alleviate the problems of the station whilst proposing an over-development of the site which was entirely out of context with the area.

Thanks to your Station Champions initiative Clapham Junction station has been recognised in a Government report as being the second worst in the country due to its overcrowding, lack of facilities and dilapidated condition. We thank you for visiting the station in November and understand that you were also appalled at what you saw. Indeed you were quoted as saying:

There is no obvious evidence of any investment or modernisation at Clapham Junction for 30 years apart from the installation of some new lifts.

One of Europe’s busiest stations, it doesn’t have a single escalator, the platform canopies cover only a minority of the congested platforms.

There is virtually no waiting area and no bike parking that I could see.

The station badly needs a new entrance which links into the overpass, relieving pressure on the congested tunnel linking the platforms, and this is now proposed.

As a result of the report, at least £5 million and maybe significantly more has now been made available to fund immediate improvements. We understand that you will be meeting with Network Rail on 20th January to hear their proposals which, we understand, will be restricted to extending canopies, repairing the subway, and providing additional staff, waiting rooms and more stairs from the over-pass to the platforms. Funding is already in place to provide a third, step-free access from Brighton Yard and to go ahead with much needed platform lengthening and straightening works.

Whilst extremely welcome, these measures do not go far enough to tackle the fundamental problems of the station. The main station entrances on St John’s Road and Grant Road are on the scale of small tube stations and will remain poky and overcrowded. The subway will remain congested with regular queues building up to pass through the ticket barriers, and the rickety over-bridge will retain its antiquated ‘seaside-pier’ ambiance, providing only the most basic access, with none of the facilities which the public expects of a major 21st century railway station and interchange.

What is required is a long term vision for the station with substantial funding being made available in the next review period from 2014. The short-term funding which has recently been announced should form part of this longer-term vision, and not act as a constraint on future redevelopment. For example, if new canopies and stairs are being proposed now, then they should be designed with a longer term goal in mind to modernise the existing overpass and underpass and extend their facilities in the future. Otherwise, there is a real risk that the money being made available will be wasted.

We would suggest that Network Rail should invite design proposals immediately for a full redevelopment of the station to meet its current and future needs, and that the new funding should be integrated within these proposals as a first stage to a full redevelopment. There is a need to provide new station entrances linking the overpass and underpass both at St John’s Hill and Grant Road, and any current proposals relating to these structures should be designed so that they may, in future, be fully integrated within this wider redevelopment.

We enclose with this letter a draft dossier that we have produced setting out the challenges for Network Rail together with some suggestions as to how these might in future be addressed (we are currently in the process of collecting views of local residents too that we intend to communicate to Network Rail). These are by no means the only solutions which might be considered. Network Rail’s framework designers and contractors might propose alternative solutions which could prove equally effective in addressing both the current problems of the station and its future expansion. Above all, it is incumbent on the government to ensure that the new public money that has been made available is spent wisely in providing facilities which will see the test of time, and not be rendered obsolete by a future redevelopment.

We will be meeting with Network Rail ourselves on 21st January and hope that by that time you will have passed on the message that further, significant measures will be required in the next funding period. We look forward very much to hearing of your discussions, and would be extremely happy to meet with you at any time.

With kindest regards

Kate Williams and Cyril Richert

January 19, 2010 at 8:24 pm 5 comments


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