Crossrail 2 is potentially the most significant local development for a generation, and will have an impact on residents across Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park. Since the plans were announced I have campaigned to ensure it will not damage our area.
Crossrail 2 is a proposed new railway serving London and the wider South East. It would connect the National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via new tunnels and stations between Wimbledon, Tottenham Hale and New Southgate, linking in with London underground, London Overground, Crossrail 1, national and international rail services.
I wish to ensure that Crossrail 2 brings as little disruption as possible to Wimbledon during its construction, and ultimately benefits our area. Unfortunately, they only consulted on one option in autumn 2015 which was not good enough for our area. Their plans would have involved:
- Demolishing circa 60% of Centre Court shopping centre and other sites across the road;
- A major new station entrance on Queen’s Road;
- Knocking down of existing homes, businesses and the church on Queen’s Road;
- A new bridge connecting Queen’s Road and Alexandra Road for construction vehicles;
- Moving trams to street level where Metro Bank is;
- Building a large site on Weir Road for parking, maintenance and cleaning of trains and a tunnel portal at Gap Road.
- Building a large site near Dundonald Road to allow trains to reverse.
- Would destroy our town centre – the construction work would have shut down Wimbledon Town Centre for up to ten years, and removed vital retail and office space.
- Have an uncertain impact on residents around Raynes Park – Crossrail 2 did not make it clear how much Raynes Park station would need to change or what impact the Dundonald Road site will have on residential property and gardens;
- Lead to huge disruption in Wimbledon Park – the construction of a tunnel portal at Gap Road, and the site at Weir Road, would lead to huge disruption around Wimbledon Park, with no consideration given to the cumulative effect of this with the development at the Plough Lane Stadium.
- Gave little consideration to Motspur Park – there was no detail on whether residential land would need to be taken around Motspur Park, or what the impact of the line would have on traffic and the level crossings in the area.
I also arranged a public meeting in December 2015 so Crossrail 2 could hear directly from residents and ask questions. Over 200 people attended, showing just how strong our community feels about this issue.
It is my view that Crossrail 2 should seriously consider tunnelling opportunities either between Raynes Park and Wimbledon or a longer tunnel into Central London starting from the south west of Motspur Park. This could be in the form of a tunnel for Crossrail 2 trains, or for the SW Trains services which travel fast to Waterloo and do not stop at Wimbledon, this would free up capacity at Wimbledon Station. I have met with their managing director many times to make this point, and I am pleased they are evaluating this option, which was confirmed in their ‘Response to Issues Raised Report’.
The Next Consultation
A further consultation on the preferred new route option, was planned for November last year, but when this deadline appeared to be slipping, I asked a Prime Minister’s Question in the House of Commons and found the consultation was to be delayed until a business case was submitted to the Government by TfL.
This business case has now been submitted and I submitted written questions to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask what their timescale is for considering it, and when they expect to hold the next consultation. I have received replied which you can read here and here – but they do not tell us much. I expect we will hear more about the next consultation and route option in June or July.
The Government’s insistence for a business case shows they are concerned about the costs and benefits of the project. However, it is my view that the project is more likely than not to go ahead.
When the next consultation is held, I will do everything I can to publicise it and I will ensure that local residents’ voices are heard.
A Vision for Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park
Crossrail 2 should bring many benefits to Wimbledon. It will relieve pressure on services to Waterloo, reduce journey times into Central London and beyond, give more local people job opportunities within a 45 minute commute and most importantly, by linking with the Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road, it would make journeys into the City much quicker.
It could also attract more businesses and jobs to Wimbledon itself by regenerating the Town Centre, with modern office and leisure facilities, high quality design, more green spaces and a mix of retail offerings. Shops and businesses in Wimbledon are already facing increasing competition from larger shopping destinations such as Croydon and Kingston.
After an initial delay, Merton Council have begun developing a ‘masterplan’ for the regeneration of Wimbledon Town Centre. I have been working with the Council to ensure that this process works in tandem with Crossrail 2, as both need to work together to make this regeneration successful, and to ensure the regeneration is sympathetic to the wishes of residents and is not developer led.
I believe the voice of residents is vital in this process. We have also seen a surge in developers wanting to replace existing buildings with taller developments, particularly along The Broadway, which residents do not support. That’s why during the last election I held a series of meetings across our area to find out what residents wanted for the future of our area, and have held meetings in Parliament with local Residents’ Associations. I also attended one of the Wimbledon Masterplan workshop in February.
The three main themes that I have heard from residents are:
- A desire for higher quality building designs, a strong preference for the Victorian style, and a limit to the height of new buildings.
- Problems with traffic flow around Town Centre’s one way system to be resolved.
- A need for more open spaces and green areas. There is a strong feeling that Wimbledon must not become a replica of Kingston or Croydon, and should focus on its unique strengths, with a range of high value employment opportunities, better office provision, the mix of retail, and a diversity of residential space.
I will work constructively with the Council on the Wimbledon Town Centre regeneration process, and I will work tirelessly to ensure the voices of residents are heard.
But Crossrail 2 is not just an opportunity for Wimbledon Town Centre, it could also bring benefits to Raynes Park and Motspur Park if it stops there, as is currently planned.
In Raynes Park, this could mean revitalising the station and the surrounding area and in Motspur Park, I want to see more effort by the Council to highlight, support and enhance the unique village feel of Motspur Park village, so that the improved transport links will lead to more visitors to the area. Residents and businesses in both areas feel neglected by the Council, this cannot continue.
If re-elected, I promise I will continue to be a strong voice for our community. I will do everything I can to ensure residents are aware of the next Crossrail 2 consultation, and what they are proposing, enabling as many people as possible to have their say. I promise to hold public meetings, so you can find out more and question the management of Crossrail. 2
I will continue to fight to ensure Crossrail 2 works for Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park.
You can find out more about Crossrail 2 on their website. Specific information on Wimbledon can be found here and here - and Raynes Park/Motspur Park here.