BY TIM MCNULTY
Residents of a quiet Southwark street are fuming after rail chiefs ignored numerous complaints that a planned second Tube entrance would lead to overcrowding and chaos.
Residents of Tait House in Greet Street, opposite the proposed entrance, are worried they will be met with huge crowds of passengers alighting from the Waterloo East interchange.
Karen Willetts, who has lived in the block for 25 years, said: “ If this proposal goes ahead we will be subjected to at least 30,000 people streaming to and from the entrance every day – the proposal states operating hours will be the same as the existing entrance – which is 24-hours-a-day.”
Residents also fear improvements to the pavement along Greet Street will do nothing to prevent a bottleneck and chaos for commuters, visitors and local residents alike.
The incredibly narrow street currently offers some residential parking, but this will likely go in another blow to residents.
Plans to open the entrance for the night Tube come despite a promise to residents it would operate during regular hours only.
Proposals for the entrance also include a planted roof and community space, as well as plans to work with the council to improve the area around Southwark station, which opened in 1999.
Transport for London (TfL) submitted its planning application in November but Tait House residents feel their voices were not heard.
Ms Willets said: “They have not consulted or listened effectively to local residents and at local community forums they have evaded our questions.”
The GLA Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, Florence Eshalomi, said: “When visiting the site with TfL officers I asked what response they had had from residents and they informed me they were engaged in an ongoing conversation with residents about the proposed entrance and the majority were very supportive.
“This now appears to be evidently untrue.” According to Ms Eshalomi, officers failed to turn up to a residents’ meeting last October despite agreeing to take part.
Ms Eshalomi said: “TfL have completely disregarded residents’ views and submitted to Lambeth anyway.” Residents at the meeting were reportedly assured no planning application would be submitted before another meeting had taken place in December.
Ms Eshalomi said: “The 2009 application for a second entrance was rejected on the basis that the impact on surrounding residents was unacceptable. Frankly, I fail to see how this application will be any different”.
Network Rail dropped a similar plan to create new station access a decade ago after opposition from Lambeth council and local residents.
Tait House landlord Grainger said: “TfL’s desire to create a new entrance to Southwark Tube station on Greet Street is not new. As residents know, it was first mooted in 2009.”
The TfL planning statement states all enquiries during the consultation period were responded to individually and on-site meetings were held with local residents’ associations.
According to the statement, more than 1,900 homes received invitation letters to two public consultation events in September and October with 117 people attending.
TfL said the new entrance would ensure the station can manage increasing commuter numbers, which have doubled every five years over the past 15 years.
They argue without the construction of a new entrance Southwark station may become subject to crowding controls and gate closures in the coming years.
TfL claims the upgrade will provide more direct routes to the Waterloo area, providing commuter with a shortcut and helping support local businesses and restaurants.
The Head of Customer Service for the Jubilee line, Marlon Osborne, said: “A second entrance at Southwark station will make customer journeys easier for thousands of customers every day as well as supporting the growing number of homes and jobs in the area.”