The slightly delayed upgrade of South Kensington tube station is to be discussed next week in a couple of open-day events.

Attempts to upgrade the station have been proposed several times since the late 1980s but have struggled to reconcile the cost of the upgrade being funded by over site developments and the vocal local lobby concerned by over development of the site. One exceptionally controversial proposal called for the demolition of the Victorian era shopping arcade entirely and a new round tower constructed instead.

Following a couple of years of consultation works, a planning application for a revised scheme was submitted last year, and permission for phase one of the upgrades was granted in January 2018 by Kensington Council.

Work was due to start last year, but has been delayed.

The plans will see the currently disused platform on the sub-surface lines brought back into use so that the congestion on the stairs can be reduced, plus the refurbishment of the Piccadilly line platforms. They will also substantially revamp the layout of the ticket hall to give more space for passengers and roughly double the number of ticket barriers.

To fund the works, they play to revamp the properties around the station including the four-storey buildings at 20-34 Thurloe Street, and errect new buildings along TfL’s stretch of land on Pelham Street to Thurloe Square, and on the distinctive Bullnose building.

TfL will be showing its initial proposals at two public events next week.

When: Wednesday 22nd May and Thursday 23rd May 2019, 3pm-7pm

Where: Les Salons, Institut Francais du Royaume-Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT

Update: Because people seem determined to see negatives in everything these days, and will prefer to complain than to research – YES, of course there will be step-free access to the trains. Do you really think a major upgrade would be carried out without including that in our modern times?


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Article last updated: 16 May 2022 08:22


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  1. Laura Ellis says:

    Where is the lift? South Ken is one of the busiest stations for schools, children, & tourists. It is irresponsible not to include lift access.

    • Ben says:

      According to the TfL website, step-free access will come in future phases. It won’t be until 2025 until it’s all step-free though.

    • Jimbo says:

      With multiple entrances, and three levels of station, it looks like lifts were in too hard category. The choice was fully redevelop and get lifts or keep the heritage and do without. The people who want the heritage were obviously more vocal than the people who need a lift.

    • Michael says:

      The lifts are clearly visible in the plan featured in the article.

  2. Dee Wills says:

    It is just not plausable that so much is done and spent and SKS is not accessible.

    Was there any public consultation? What does the so called watchdog Travelwatch have to say. It is a disgrace.

    • ianvisits says:

      There have been years of public consultation – and there will be lifts in the plan.

      Before calling something “a disgrace”, why not check the facts?

  3. JP says:

    You’re on a hiding to nothing there I reckon Ian. I blame the yanks of the fifties and whoever was the education minister who decided to ditch O~levels and CSEs and replace them with multiple choice exams all because they’re easier and quicker to mark.
    In my humble opinion, this has engendered in the youth of today a culture of immediate answers to any requests the little darlings spew out. You can’t blame them particularly if that’s how they’ve been brought up.
    Therefore it’s become unconscionable to look up the answers themselves when there’s a bod in front of them to grill.
    Am I right or am I
    a) right,
    b) wot?,
    c) shut up you dinosaur?

  4. JP says:

    P.S. Here’s the relevant info which took me ½ a minute to find on the TfL website about the redevelopment project.
    Step-free access will also be available from:

    Street to train on all District and Circle line platforms
    Ticket hall to the museum subway
    Ticket hall to the Piccadilly line platforms

  5. James Miller says:

    Sometimes the Heritage Taliban should get into the real world!

    I was restoring a Listed Building and in a meeting between the County Heritage Building Officer, who was a small lady of about five foot tall, a rather pompous Local Authority Planning Officer and myself, the Heritage Officer said to Mr. Pompous “Do you think the building should be restored to how it was built?” He replied in the affirmative. She then asked if the building should have outside toilets. Mr. Pompous stayed silent, but shrunk shorter than she was!

    I got what I wanted!

  6. B says:

    If you look at the plan view image of the proposed upgrade, there are lots it’s the dark brown squares

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