Rail project will cause "damage local quality of life"
Merton councillors are calling on Crossrail 2 to rule out the demolition of Wimbledon town centre and instead to look at other options which would minimise disruption for local residents and businesses.
An amendment passed at Wednesday’s Merton Borough Council meeting highlighted the potential damage to businesses and residents' quality of life as a result of increased disruption, noise and traffic congestion as well as the loss of commercial floor space, residential buildings, gardens and several landmark buildings.
Conservative councillors, who tabled the amendment, also warned Crossrail 2 against potential damage to Raynes Park and Motspur Park town centres and urged the council and Crossrail 2 to engage with residents, businesses and community representatives as soon as possible on the development of a master plan for the future of Wimbledon.
Together with Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, they have also launched a new website to keep residents informed about what is happening on Crossrail 2.
The £12 billion new line, which would also give a proposed journey time to Tottenham Court Road of 14 minutes for trains stopping at Wimbledon, is aimed at relieving congestion on the Victoria, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
A Crossrail document giving more details of the potential impact on Wimbledon reveals that about half of Centre Court shopping centre could be retained, with the rest needing to be demolished to extend the size of the station.
Merton Council has already put out a cross-party statement warning that the work will cause an "unacceptable level of upheaval and disruption for businesses and residents".
Councillor Daniel Holden, Conservative Transport Spokesman, said: “Crossrail 2’s current plans for the demolition of Wimbledon town centre would cause 10 years’ worth of disruption to residents and businesses. It’s clear from talking to many people in the areas affected and from recent public meetings that there is a great deal of anxiety about what has been proposed. We absolutely share that concern.
“As local elected representatives, Conservative councillors are sending a strong message to Crossrail 2 that we don’t want a total demolition job; that we want to see alternative options considered; and we want better communication with residents and businesses. It is also vital that the council now starts work on a master plan together with local residents and businesses so that there is a clear framework for the future of Wimbledon.”
You can see their new website at: http://www.crossrail2wimbledon.london/.
A group of residents living in the South Park Gardens area have also set up a site aimed at preserving and improving the town centre. You can see it here: http://www.wimbledontowncentre.com/home.html
The scheme could involve the area around what is now "The Fridge" being redeveloped to bring retail and leisure opportunities about a new four-platform tram terminal.
The results of a recent consultation and the outcomes of the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission are expected in spring and will inform the submission to the Government for development consent.
A survey by Love Wimbledon
has shown that 76% of town centre businesses were concerned about the impact on business. And Merton Lib Dems have suggested an alternative deep tunnel under Wimbledon would avoid the widespread demolition of the town centre currently proposed.
Subject to Government funding and approval, construction could begin in 2020 with the first Crossrail 2 service running in 2030.
The new railway would provide capacity for 270,000 more people to access central London during the morning peak, with an increase in the number of trains from major destinations across south west London and Surrey including Wimbledon, New Malden, Kingston and Epsom.
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February 5, 2016