Time Is Running Out To Comment On Controversial Crossrail 2

Rail project will cause "upheaval and disruption" to Wimbledon town centre

The deadline to comment on the £12 billion Crossrail 2 plans, which will have a significant impact on Wimbledon town centre, is 5pm today (January 8).

The 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 put out a cross-party statement warning that the work will cause an "unacceptable level of upheaval and disruption for businesses and residents".

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond is also concerned the building work will effectively "shut down" the town centre for up to seven years.

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 public consultation runs until 5pm today Friday (January 8), and a packed public meeting took place at Holy Trinity Church on The Broadway in Wimbledon on Thursday.

Merton Council's full cross-party statement, which it put out on Thursday evening reads: "Crossrail 2 is set to be a huge project which will have a significant impact on Wimbledon town centre. In the long-term, Crossrail 2 will bring opportunities to the area. We are a pro-growth borough and want the best for Merton.

"All parties at Merton Council support Crossrail 2 in principle, but not at any cost. The council has a duty to represent current businesses and residents of the borough and has significant reservations about the proposals.

"As they stand at the moment, they will cause an unacceptable level of upheaval and disruption for businesses and residents. The council recognises its duty to represent the people living and working in Merton. The welfare and interests of those who would be directly affected by the works and the eventual development will continue to be its priority."

There will be further consultations on Crossrail 2 as the scheme develops. The results of the consultation and the outcomes of the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission are expected in spring 2016 and will inform the submission to the Government for development consent.

A recent survey by Love Wimbledon has shown that 76% of town centre businesses were concerned about the impact on business, but only 29% would definitely respond to the Crossrail 2 consultation.

Love Wimbledon said in a statement today: "Today's the last day to have your say in the Crossrail2 consultation. Respond before 5pm. This is a really important time for Wimbledon businesses as the impact on our town centre could be very significant with many commercial buildings potentially becoming ‘work sites’."

In its response to Crossrail2 it stated: "Love Wimbledon BID support Crossrail 2 coming to Wimbledon but it must not be delivered at the expense of the economic wellbeing of the town."

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said in his response that the current proposals "will involve loss of commercial and retail space, as well as possibly residential, with seven to ten years of upheaval in the Town Centre causing negative impacts in terms of noise, road and traffic disruption and the environmental/health impact that building pollution will have on local residents and those who work in the town centre.

"Moreover, the current phasing plans are likely to lead to an effective "shutting down" of Wimbledon for up to seven years, from which I doubt it would recover. Therefore instead of a regeneration project it would be a death knell. I am surprised and disappointed that the Crossrail Growth Commission did not speak to me as the local Member of Parliament nor the most interested parties whom one might expect to be consulted."

Merton Lib Dems suggested an alternative deep tunnel under Wimbledon would avoid the widespread demolition of the town centre currently proposed. "This is our preferred alternative to the shallow tunnel, all else being equal, and we need to understand exactly what is currently preventing it from being proposed and how these issues could be dealt with," they said in their response.

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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January 8, 2015