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Crossrail 2: the best deal for Tooting

Concerned by TfL’s proposal to move the planned Crossrail 2 station at Tooting Broadway to Balham, local MP Sadiq Khan has urged TfL to provide local residents with the full facts behind each option to allow them to make an informed decision on which they prefer. 

The current Crossrail 2 consultation seeks Londoners’ opinions on the proposed route for the project. Despite Tooting Broadway appearing as a station in previous consultations, TfL is now presenting Balham station as their preferred site, due to geological reasons. 

Even though TfL are consulting on both options, Sadiq is worried that Tooting Broadway has been ruled out even before the consultation has begun.

Sadiq's letter to Managing Director of Crossrail, Michèle Dix:

 

Dear Michèle, 

I am writing to you regarding the ongoing Crossrail 2 consultation. 

Whilst I wholeheartedly support Crossrail 2, as the Member of Parliament for Tooting I would like to raise the following concerns on behalf of my constituents. 

The proposed re-route 

My constituents have raised a number of concerns with the proposed re-route of Crossrail 2, to move the station from Tooting Broadway to Balham. I understand that the change has been proposed due to geological challenges being identified at Tooting Broadway station, however there are concerns that Tooting Broadway is in effect no longer being considered as a realistic option. Can you please confirm that Tooting Broadway continues to be a viable option and what is being done to make sure residents are aware of this? Moreover, can you please clarify to what extent local residents’ views will be taken in to account when making a decision on the route and when a final decision will be made? 

There are concerns that residents are not being presented with all the facts to make an informed contribution to the consultation. I would be grateful if you could provide greater clarification on the following points: 

  • the costings of each site, and precisely how long each would take to build
  • what amenities will be impacted during the building process for each
  • how the over ground service at Balham Station would be affected by building works
  • Whether TfL will need to apply to safeguard the new route and shafts
  • The locations of the shafts for each site 

In addition, TfL will be aware of the ongoing redevelopment of the Springfield Hospital site. Can you provide information on what discussions have been had with the Trust regarding the proposed shaft on this site, and what impact this is likely to have on the redevelopment? My constituents are particularly concerned that this could prolong works on the site, and also eat into the proposed 32 acre park on the site.

The consultation

 I understand that details of the consultation have been shared with the local media and elected councillors, and that TfL proposes to contact Oyster card users and host a number of local drop-in events, but I am concerned that many of those who will be affected by the proposed re-route will miss out on having their say. Can you please provide information on how many households have been contacted in my constituency to date and how many you expect to contact before the consultation closes? Will TfL be writing to all those who were contacted at the beginning of year regarding the safeguarding of the proposed route? 

Moreover, what is being done to inform residents who live in the vicinity of the newly proposed shafts of the consultation and how to take part? 

I would be grateful if you could provide a full response to the concerns I have raised above as soon as possible, to allow them to share it with my constituents. 

Thanks in advance for your assistance with this matter. 

Kind regards,

Sadiq

 

The response Sadiq has received:

Dear Sadiq, 

Thanks for your email last Friday. Thank you for your questions about the proposed re- route and about the consultation which I have sought to address as fully as I can below at this stage. 

The proposed re- route / station

As our consultation material indicates we are currently focusing our efforts on developing proposals for a station at Balham. The geological challenges at Tooting Broadway are something we discovered relatively recently, and as such, we are working to develop the design for a station at Balham to a similar level of detail as other stations. Further assessments of the ground conditions in the area are being planned to inform future design work. Whilst we have not formally removed Tooting Broadway from the Crossrail 2 proposals, there are very significant challenges to building a station there. As a result, our current proposals include a station at Balham which, on balance, we believe provides a better overall solution for the local area. We are working to develop a single preferred option for the Crossrail 2 Project before the summer of next year.

Based on the feasibility work that we have undertaken to date, we anticipate that the cost of building a station at Balham would be in the order of £500m. In comparison to this, and in recognition of the significant risks that we believe to exist at Tooting Broadway because of the geological conditions, the equivalent cost for a station at Tooting Broadway would be in the order of £1bn (i.e. around twice as expensive). This is because of the different construction methods that would be required. At Tooting Broadway, we would need to first build a large station box which would have to be built from the top down before tunnel boring machines (TBMs) could pass through. Once the TBMs have passed, and the box has been excavated, we would need to freeze the ground (which is very wet) to build the station tunnels.  Conversely at Balham, more of the station could be constructed underground using spayed concrete lining methods after the tunnel boring machine has passed through. This construction method is faster and less disruptive as well as less expensive. 

In terms of construction durations, and again, based on the feasibility work that we have undertaken to date, we anticipate that the civils and tunnelling work (i.e. the most disruptive type of work) for a station at Balham would take approximately 5 – 6 years. Of this, we anticipate that the period during which the main excavations would take place, would be approximately 1.5 – 2 years. For Tooting Broadway, the equivalent civils and tunnelling work is anticipated to take approximately 7 – 8 years, as a different method of construction would be required for the soil conditions at Tooting Broadway (as explained above), including a longer excavation period which could last for approximately 3 – 4 years. For both scenarios, there would then be a further period of approximately 2 years during which the station was fitted out and made ready for passenger operations.

We can not say with certainty which local amenities in Tooting Broadway would be impacted if we built a Crossrail 2 station there because of the local ground conditions, but at a minimum it would require worksites impacting on Sainsbury’s and the adjacent retail units, South Thames College, retail units on Mitcham Road between the existing station entrance and the bingo hall, and retail units to the north of the station on Tooting High Street / Upper Tooting Road. It is possible that the operation of Tooting Market would also be impacted during the construction of the scheme. I will send a map separately indicating the worksites required for Tooting Broadway drawn on the same base maps as used in the consultation for Balham. Building a station at Tooting Broadway  would also have a much bigger impact on the local road network, because of the spoil required to be removed via the surface,  as we would need to use at least double the number of lorries to remove excavated material than if we built a station at Balham. 

In terms of the impact on the existing National Rail services at Balham, we do not anticipate that works to build a Crossrail 2 station at Balham would lead to significant disruption to these services. We would seek to design the railway to minimise any impact on existing services. 

The location of the proposed ventilation shafts is presented as part of the consultation materials. We are proposing sites within the Springfield Hospital development and on the edge of Wandsworth Common, at the end of Honeywell Road. We have had some initial discussions with Springfield Hospital about the possibility of constructing a shaft within their development, and will continue to work with them as we further develop our proposals. We are conscious of the need to minimise disruption and the impact of Crossrail 2 on green spaces in the area. 

Further to the outcome of consultation and technical work we may seek to revise the Safeguarding Directions so they align with our proposals. The earliest we would do this is in the autumn of next year.  

The consultation

We have launched a comprehensive public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the consultation. In addition to the press activity, councillor briefings, Oyster mailings and local drop in events, we are also using social media, promotional posters at London Underground and Overground stations and have arranged for over 200,000 leaflets to be delivered to properties along the route, providing local information. These leaflets are specifically designed to raise the awareness of the consultation and encourage people to respond to our proposals. Nearly 50,000 leaflets are being distributed around Wandsworth Common, Balham, Tooting Broadway and Wimbledon, many in your constituency. Furthermore we have sent letters to properties directly above the proposed alignment – in the same area (around Wandsworth Common, Balham, Tooting Broadway and Wimbledon ) this equates to around 15,000 letters. 

We are happy to work with other local groups to raise awareness of the consultation, and would welcome any suggestions you have. Please find below a list of the drop in events in your constituency, which you may also wish to publicise: 

  • Tooting Broadway, Outside 6 Selkirk Road, London, SW17 0ES, 25/11/2015, 12 noon – 8 pm
  • Tooting Broadway, Outside 6 Selkirk Road, London, SW17 0ES, 26/11/2015, 12 noon – 8 pm
  • Balham, Outside 3 Balham Grove, London, SW12 8AY, 27/11/2015, 12 noon – 8 pm
  • Balham, Outside 3 Balham Grove, London, SW12 8AY, 28/11/2015, 11am – 4 pm
  • Wandsworth Common, Outside 7-9 Bellvue Road, London, SW17 7EG, 12/12/2015 11am - 4pm
  • Wandsworth Common, Central London Golf Centre, Burntwood Lane, SW17 0AT, 14/12/2015, 12 noon – 8pm 

Kind regards,

Michele

 

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