Plans for a second entrance to Southwark tube station are set to go ahead following a recommendation from the council’s planning officers that they be approved.
However, local residents in the housing next to the new entrance have strongly protested against the plans, and it is still possible that the elected Councillors will reject the planning officers advice, and vote against the proposal.
The application follows a previously withdrawn planning application submitted in February 2009, which was refused on the basis of impacts on neighbouring residents, caused by the design of the proposal.
The latest proposal significantly differs from the current development proposed, as it included an open staircase directly into the ‘barrel’ of the railway viaduct, and thanks to various other amendments, the planning officers found it wouldn’t be detrimental to the housing behind it.
Despite that, they received 14 letters objecting to the plans, and just one in support — plus a petition signed by 225 people objecting to the new tube station entrance.
Most of the objections relate to a semi-residential street gaining a lot more pedestrians using it, and the noise from the tannoys in the station entrance. TfL has amended its original application and will now close the entrance during Night tube hours to help offset the disturbance.
Local MP, Kate Hoey also supports the objectors, saying that “If they need a new entrance (and using the tube there as I do often in rush hour, I just do not see the need for it) then another more suitable place must be found.”
In response, London Underground outlined four alternative sites they had considered, and why they would not be suitable, with two sites affecting emergency vehicles, one being unsafe due to overcrowding and one being too expensive to build.
A number of local area improvements will be thrown in with the development, such as new bike racks, and indications that an additional cycle hire stand may be added later.
Among the local area improvements, is a payment of £6,300 for the provision of 3 additional street trees on Greet Street, which seems high, as other councils charge a fraction of that for each new tree they plant.
The planning application is due to be voted on by the Councillors at their meeting on 5th March.
If approved, then construction would start in early 2021.
Images from the planning application.