Crossrail 2 raised at Prime Minister’s Questions

Greg Hands MP notes the following question asked at Prime Minister’s Questions on 26 October by his colleague and Member of Parliament for Wimbledon, Stephen Hammond:
Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Con): “As a former Wimbledonian, my right hon. Friend will understand the significance of transport for south-west London and in particular for Wimbledon. Can she assure me that the Government still support Crossrail 2, and will she ask the Secretary of State for Transport to set out the timetable for the delayed consultation?”
The Prime Minister: “I can absolutely give the commitment that we continue to support Crossrail 2. We are waiting to see a robust business case and a proper funding proposal for Crossrail 2. My right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary will in due course set out the timetable for that, but as a former Wimbledonian I can assure my hon. Friend that we are well aware of his interest in the Wimbledon to Victoria aspects of the project, and that the needs of the local area are being taken into account.”
This exchange is important not only for those living in Wimbledon, but also potentially for those living in Chelsea & Fulham. Following the most recent stage of Transport for London’s consultation on Crossrail 2, which ran from 27 October 2015 to 8 January 2016, and which received nearly 21,000 formal responses and a further 90,000 individual comments, local residents were expecting to be able to express their views in a further consultation in the autumn earlier this year.
Crossrail 2 published its initial findings in its Consultation Report, which can be found here, on 16 March. Seeing that the question which referred to a proposed Crossrail 2 station on the King’s Road in Chelsea received the largest number of responses, and that 12,637 respondents (86 per cent) expressed concerns and raised issues, it is perhaps not unexpected that local residents in Chelsea & Fulham were looking forward to expressing their opinions once more.
Indeed, this topic was discussed at length at the recent Chelsea Society meeting on Monday, 7 November, at which local residents associations were able to ask questions to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Leader of the Council, Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown, and the Greater London Authority member for Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and the City of Westminster, Tony Devenish AM. All parties recognised the possible implications of the Prime Minister’s response to Mr Hammond, in that, if a robust business case and a proper funding proposal for a Crossrail 2 station on the King’s Road cannot be found, then its viability may be called into question.
This analysis is particularly compelling when the response from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Paul Maynard MP, to Mr Hammond’s written question earlier in the month is compared with the National Infrastructure Commission’s comments on the Crossrail 2 station proposed for the King’s Road.
Mr Maynard wrote: “The government is pushing forward with plans for ‎Crossrail 2 with a revised business case‎ due in March 2017 and development of a funding and financing plan underway. It is crucial that the scheme is affordable and deliverable. As the scheme progresses, we will ensure there are ongoing opportunities for the public to be consulted.”
For comparison, the National Infrastructure Commission commented here: “In addition to phasing, we have also looked at options to reduce the absolute cost and scope of the scheme. The one area for scope reduction is the removal of a sub-surface central London station. Each of these stations and associated works can cost up to £1bn. The commission has noted the debate around removing the stop at Kings Road. Although this station would provide improved access to an area which has not previously had good Underground connections compared to other inner London areas, a stop on the Kings Road does not provide the strategic interchange or crowding relief provided by other stations.”
Commenting on these questions being raised about the delay to Crossrail 2’s consultation process, Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham, Greg Hands, said: “I am grateful to my colleague, Stephen Hammond MP, for raising this important question about the delay to Crossrail 2’s consultation process, and I am interested to hear that there were many questions at the Chelsea Society that this delay may hint at questions being raised about the viability of a Crossrail 2 station on the King’s Road.
“For that reason, I will seek to get some clarification at my meeting with Dr Michèle Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, at our meeting in early December, and I will keep my constituents updated as to the outcome.”