Tube side entrance a disaster for us

BY SEAN DELANEY
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Plans for a second entrance to a Tube station in a quiet Southwark street are still set to go ahead, despite a decision to defer the application.

Lambeth planning officers recommended the approval of the controversial expansion of Southwark Tube station last week.

The decision has angered residents of Tait House in Greet Street, who claim the planning application does not take into account their concerns with regards to increased noise levels and disruption.

The plans were revived by Transport for London (TfL) a decade after they were dropped by Network Rail in the face of opposition from both Lambeth council and local residents.

The current development proposed includes revised amendments of an open staircase directly into the ‘barrel’ of the railway viaduct and planned improvements to landscaping and short-term cycling storage.

Following public consultation the planning application received one letter of support and 14 letters of objection, as well as a petition containing 255 signatures.

Greet Street residents claim the amendments from TfL do not substantially differ from those it submitted in November of last year.

They feel the ‘acoustic’ impact assessments carried out do not adequately address their concerns with regards to the expected increased noise and footfall at the station entrance.

Karen Willets, who has lived in the block for 25 years, said: “In essence, this proposal is no different from the previous proposal made by Network Rail.

“The pre-decision by the planning committee at that time, was to reject the proposal based on the impact of noise and its close proximity to residential properties.

“This proposal will have exactly the same impact. Yet the Lambeth planning committee recommendation is to grant permission. Outrageous just does not cover it.

“As usual, the end game, according to the powers that be, mean only three things: pound signs, contracts and golden handshakes.”

Lambeth planning officers said: “There will be an increase in noise levels towards the south of Tait House, where the new entranceway acts as an additional source of PA noise and is reflected off the facades opposite.

“However, this increase is still below the perceptible change and is unlikely to have a noticeable adverse impact.”

Plans to open the entrance for the night Tube also come despite a promise to residents it would only operate during regular hours.

The GLA Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, Florence Eshalomi, said: “TfL officers advised that the entrance would only be open during regular tube hours to reduce impact on residents, and residents have informed me that they were promised this. However, I can see the assurance has not been met, as the night tube hours have been included.

“The new entrance alone will have a huge change on the noise level experienced by residents on Greet Street and in particular Tait House.”

Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, said: “There is no justification for this new entrance in such a narrow street.

“Consultation with the local community has been dire and indeed there have been some quite blatant lies about what has been done.

“At the last South Bank Forum, which I chair with Neil Coyle, MP, there was meant to be a presentation on this but London Underground failed to turn up.”

Lambeth planning officers said: “Existing background noise levels are only marginally lower during the evening and night-time, even when the night tube is in operation.”

Councillors voted unanimously to defer the application following a planning application committee meeting this week.

Lambeth planning officers said: “The additional information provided requires further consideration by officers in terms of verification to ensure it’s presented in the correct manner.”

Councillor Clair Wilcox, chairwoman of the committee, said: “I believe forging ahead and determining an application without the right information and without residents and potential objectors having seen the information would not be a good idea.”

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