The Borough High Street entrance to the London Underground could get an upgrade to reduce the amount of crowding on the high street, under plans being discussed with a property developer.

The Borough High Street access to the Jubilee and Northern lines currently has two exits, a street-level set of steps on the western side of the high street, and a larger escalator entrance on the eastern side. It’s this eastern entrance where congestion is a problem and that TfL is looking at improving. The congestion is not inside the entrance though, but on the narrow pavement outside, and the proposal seeks to address the corner of St Thomas Street and Borough High Street which has a higher rate of pedestrian accident statistics compared to other areas of the capital / borough.

The opportunity to improve the area comes from a property development of a 1980s office block that’s currently almost impossible to see from the streets, as it’s hidden away behind the buildings that line the streets. This development, New City Court, will be turning a small existing yard behind the tube station entrance into a much larger open courtyard.

By knocking a hole in the back of the tube station entrance, they will be able to create a new entrance away from the busy high street.

Existing office block overlaid on Google maps

In addition to the 20% of people using the station entrance who are already wanting to travel east, a proportion of the 35% of pedestrians heading south from the LUL station can be directed away from the corner through the new public realm and south through the King’s Head Yard.

Existing entrance changes being proposed (c) Planning application

That could see the existing entrance passenger numbers halved, with the attendant benefits for the pedestrians on the narrow Borough High Street pavement.

Those heading south will have an option to use the new exit and head onto the high street via King’s Head Yard, and those who want to head east and currently walk around the congested pavement will have a covered glazed walkway from the new exit to a new pedestrian passage onto St Thomas Street.

In its latest Investment Programme Report, TfL said that contractual negotiations are underway pending the outcome of a planning application submitted by the developer.

Proposed view from new Underground station entrance looking out onto public realm (c) Planning application

The development itself will be a tall office block with a rooftop garden and cafe that will be open to the public. As the proposed tower is 25 floors in height, the rooftop views across the south of London should be quite impressive.

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