Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, today called for a better deal for local residents from Transport for London at the public inquiry into the Northern Line Extension.
Giving evidence to the inquiry in Battersea this morning, Simon Hughes made seven requests to the inspector if local residents are not to suffer from an extension to the Northern Line which is clearly aimed to benefit other people rather than those who live in Kennington.
- There should be further detailed scrutiny of alternative sites for the main ventilation shaft at Kennington - in particular Oval Green or Oval Cross, as an alternative to a permanent shaft in Kennington Park.
- There must be greater changes to Kennington Station to deal with the possible need for evacuation for the greater numbers using the line, and to give step free access both for the general public and for passengers with disabilities.
- There must be an agreed and fixed upper limit on sound levels of 30 decibels outside noise levels from the tunnels, and 25 decibels noise levels from the vents. Best applicable practice should be applied.
- TfL must carry out and publish a full assessment of the economic benefits of the scheme to LB Southwark and its residents.
- TfL must agree to an effective consultation process if the scheme goes ahead, in a way which gives the consultation group real influence and say, and can allow for flexibility and change in the methods for consultation.
- TfL must publish in full the results of the surveys of underground water flows in and around the area of Kennington Station.
- TfL should change the zoning of Kennington Station so that it becomes a zone 1 and 2 boundary station, which would financially greatly assist many local residents and other users.
Simon Hughes said at the inquiry:
"I pay tribute to all those local residents, to the Kennington and Walworth Neighbourhood Action Group, and to my colleagues Ciaran Lyne and Dan Whitehead, who have done a huge amount of work up to and during this inquiry. The fact that the inquiry is happening at all is thanks to community pressure - as are the changes of plan already announced, for example, to remove the plans for a vent in De Laune Street.
I do not imagine any of the local community consider this proposed Northern Line Extension as the priority for Transport for London in the next ten years. There are many other schemes which would have had much more popular support, and which seem to be of much greater benefit.
But if the Northern Line Extension is to go ahead, the cost of the extra works the community and I are asking for is minimal in comparison with the costs of the total project. It would be nonsense and risky for there to be two new state of the art stations on the Northern Line Extension, but for Kennington to remain a station with limited access and no step free access. And the least that Transport for London can do is change the zone of the station so that it can move from a zone 2 only station to a zone 1 and zone 2 station in the future."