Here is the latest update from Save our Balham on CR2
Save Our Balham
Update - December 2016
Dear Save Our Balham Supporters,
You have probably already heard that the expected Crossrail 2 consultation on a ‘preferred route’ has been delayed to spring 2017.
Our last update e-mail to you was in mid-October – so we thought it was time to be back in touch - and fill you in on what we know.
You may recall that Save Our Balham met with Michele Dix. Managing Director of Crossrail 2 in late September to discuss the widespread consternation across Balham, Wandsworth and Tooting regarding CR2's ill-considered proposal for a Crossrail 2 station in Balham. We had stressed the reasons why Tooting Broadway was the only common-sense option for a local CR2 station: improved local transport connections (both Northern Line relief - and across the area more widely), and, very importantly, opportunities for long-run local re-generation – including greater potential for more new homes, local jobs and growth.
We followed through on our meeting with Crossrail 2 by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport and also to the Mayor of London, to urge each of them when making their decision to take full account of the long-run and wider public-interest benefits of a CR2 station at Tooting Broadway.
You may recall that the Crossrail 2 consultation on a ‘Preferred Route’ was expected at the end of October 2016. This was widely expected to put forward CR2’s proposal on whether they favoured Tooting Broadway or Balham. And this was why Save Our Balham held a well-attended supporters meeting in Balham on 28 October.
However, as October drew to a close, it became apparent that the Crossrail 2 project had hit a delay.
Informal indications from local MPs and councillors suggested that the consultation had been postponed pending submission of a revised CR2 Business Plan to the Secretary of State for Transport. Parliamentary answers indicated that a revised business case would be submitted in March 2017. Social media posts indicated that the consultation on the preferred route would not begin until the second quarter of 2017. CR2 plans for public meetings in November to publicise the consultation were cancelled.
Initially, none of these developments were clarified or explained by CR2 - either on their website or elsewhere. So, Save Our Balham wrote to CR2 on 9 November to point out that this vacuum simply served to add to local uncertainty about the project. We asked CR2 to clarify :
Their expectations on timing for publication of the consultation, and whether this would be before or after submission by CR2 of their revised business plan in March 2017 – and -
Whether the revised Business Plan and associated documents would be published – and if so, when ?
Our letter at least seemed to prompt Crossrail 2 to write to their London-wide contact list to acknowledge the delayed consultation.
On 9 December, so one month after Save Our Balham wrote to Crossrail 2, we received the following reply to our questions from CR2's managing director about the delayed consultation.
‘…. Over the last few months we have been meeting with stakeholders up and down the proposed route and carefully considering the feedback we received to our autumn 2015 Consultation. We are also considering the recommendations from the National Infrastructure Commission and Government on the business case for the scheme.
The Prime Minister and the Transport Secretary have reiterated their support for Crossrail 2. Over the coming months we will be preparing an updated business case and robust funding plan. The Secretary of State has asked us to undertake this work before we proceed with further formal public consultation. The business case will inform the route; no decision has yet been made….
……. As the scheme progresses we will continue engaging with local people and interest groups, such as Save our Balham, listening carefully to what people have to say to inform our work. My team and I are very aware of the views of Save Our Balham and how the group feel Tooting Broadway would be the better choice for a new Crossrail 2 station. We will keep you updated when we have further information to share’.
Somewhat curiously, in the Chancellor’s autumn statement on 23 November 2016, the Crossrail 2 project did not receive an explicit mention.
However, Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, and member of parliament for Epsom and Ewell, is on the record as having a particular concern about over-crowding at Waterloo main-line station, to where he commutes.
On 6 December 2016, the Evening Standard quoted him as saying : ‘I want Crossrail 2 to go ahead..What we have to do right now is just to work out the best way of developing and financing it. Part of this has to come from development value. If you happen to own the land next to the station, you do very nicely out of it. We have to capture some of that value gained in order to fund the infrastructure improvement.’
The Evening Standard explained that ‘London’s long-awaited north-south rail link, Crossrail 2 will be part-funded by windfall taxes on developers whose land shoots up in value’. The Standard also noted that ‘the £33 billion line is on the drawing board, but the Infrastructure Commission is backing the go-ahead for its opening in 2033’.
So, many thanks for your continued support. This is our Update for the time-being. Do let us know if you have any further news.
Remember that your active engagement is critical in helping to ensure a strong local voice. Your support underpins the case being made by our local MPs, London Assembly Member, councillors and Wandsworth Council, that Tooting Broadway is their preferred and only serious option for a Crossrail 2 station. By putting Tooting Broadway back on the table, Crossrail 2 now recognise this. CR2's letter of 9 December to Save Our Balham underscores how your active support will certainly be needed in the new year to ensure that common sense prevails with a final choice of Tooting Broadway for a Crossrail 2 station.
We will be back in touch in the new year.
best wishes from
the Save Our Balham team
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org