Council repeats call for Crossrail 2 tube link at Tooting Broadway

Published: 14 January 2016

The council has repeated its strongly held view that the new Crossrail 2 tube link should come to Tooting Broadway.

In its formal response to Transport for London’s latest consultation on the proposed route for this new underground service, the council has once again called for a new station and tube interchange to be sited in Tooting.

This reaffirmation of the council’s long term view comes after TfL announced towards the end of last year that they were considering changing the route and siting the new station at Balham instead.

The council has long argued that Crossrail 2 will play a major role in attracting new investment to Tooting town centre and give a huge boost to the wider area’s regeneration as well as helping to ease overcrowding on the already heavily used Northern Line service.

In its response to the consultation, the council says it opposes the Balham option because it would not offer the same jobs and regeneration boost as it would in Tooting. In contrast it describes the case for Tooting Broadway as “strong and persuasive”.

The response also questions why the geological challenges to tunnelling and station construction at Tooting have only just been identified and warns that the impact of building a new station at Balham is likely to have a detrimental impact on its town centre businesses.

It also questions the methodology relied on to favour Balham and disqualify Tooting and suggests that the geological challenges at the latter may not be quite as insurmountable as implied..

The council’s response states “It would appear that there is no dispute that the benefits of a station at Tooting Broadway are greater than at Balham. This is in terms of additional homes and new jobs unlocked by Crossrail 2, degree of relief to the Northern Line, improved accessibility to St George’s Hospital and other transport benefits.”

It calls on TfL to undertake “a full cost / benefit assessment of the ‘Balham or Tooting Broadway’ issue that compares the cost of the whole of each alternative route from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction and compares this with a full operational, economic, environmental and social impact of the alternative alignments”.

The response also urges TfL to identify alternative sites for a shaft that the current proposals have earmarked for the eastern edge of Wandsworth Common – near Bolingbroke Grove. Local people have suggested alternative locations for this shaft, which would provide emergency access and ventilation to the tunnels, and the council is calling on TfL to give these suggestions full and careful consideration.

The need for a shaft on Wandsworth Common is only necessary f the station is built at Balham. If TfL revert to their original plan and place it at Tooting Broadway there would be no need for such a facility on the common.

The council‘s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We have campaigned long and hard for Tooting Broadway to be a major part of Crossrail 2 and our position has not changed.

“We remain convinced that the economic and social benefits of sticking to the original route are strong enough to outweigh and overcome any engineering challenges.

“TfL’s unexpected announcement late last year that Balham was suddenly being favoured over Tooting Broadway was an unwelcome development and as part of our response to their consultation we are saying that the evidence as it stands does not justify this change.

“TfL need to come up with a much more solid and persuasive case to justify their new thinking. It will take  a lot more to convince us that Tooting is not the right destination for this new tube link.”

Known for many years as ‘the Chelsea Hackney line’, Crossrail 2 will link south west and north east London and bring the tube network to Clapham Junction for the very first time.

Work on the new line is due to start in 2020 and will take around ten years to complete.

The original route ran from Hackney to Wimbledon via Euston St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Clapham Junction and Tooting Broadway. Bringing tube services to Clapham Junction and improving connectivity to the south of the borough, along with bringing much needed additional rail capacity between Wandsworth and central London, have been key transport priorities for the council for many years.

To read its response in full visit the council’s website.