Crossrail 2: Balham still preferred option but “stronger development case for Tooting” is out next month
Balham or Tooting?
Until November last year TfL’s preferred option for a Crossrail 2 station was Tooting. This changed in November last year as a result of preliminary geological surveys carried out by TfL. In January, TfL announced the results of a massive consultation exercise which asked residents which station – Balham or Tooting – they would prefer for Crossrail 2.
Some 20,000 responses were received, a majority of whom preferred Tooting. However, TfL’s preferred option remained Balham, due to the geological conditions found at both locations which would make Tooting more complicated and more expensive. Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, called on TfL not to exclude Tooting despite the cost and urged TfL to carry out an economic assessment of the impact of bringing Crossrail 2 to Tooting.
TfL has now confirmed that this economic impact assessment is underway and will be available next month. TfL has also confirmed that further, scheduled geological surveys, involving drilling for samples, are underway at Balham and will start in Tooting in six to eight weeks’ time.
Sadiq Khan MP said: “Currently, the position is that Balham remains TfL’s preferred option. However, TfL concedes that Tooting has a stronger development case than Balham. Once the results of the economic assessment are known next month, TfL has agreed to share those with me and I will be sure to scrutinise them closely”.
A spokesperson for TfL told Sadiq Khan: “I can confirm that our preferred option of Balham has not changed and our position on Tooting Broadway has not changed. The development case is stronger for Tooting but the geological case is not. Only once the results of the geological surveys and the economic impact assessment have been analysed might our preferred option change”. The spokesperson added: “We are still considering all the options and no decision has been made.”
Key milestones in the decision process
TfL has confirmed that the key milestones in the Crossrail 2 decision process are:
- March – geological surveys to begin in Balham
- By the end of March the results of the economic impact assessment will have been compiled. Also by the end of March TfL has confirmed that it will have drawn up a detailed analysis of the 20,000 responses to the consultation, including a breakdown of the concerns and the numbers of residents who expressed those concerns.
- April – geological surveys to begin in Tooting
- Between now and June TfL confirms that they will be carrying out 3-4 months of drilling at both Tooting and Balham
- By June TfL will be able to provide a “considered response” to the consultation. At that stage TfL will announce its single preferred option.
- By October a second round of consultation will begin on TfL’s “single preferred option” incorporating any elements that may have changed since the last consultation.
In a statement received by Sadiq Khan on Feb 23, TfL said “We are still at the early stages of developing Crossrail 2 and have always been clear that no final decisions had been made: this remains the case. We are looking at ways to mitigate concerns raised through the consultation along the whole route… and undertaking further engineering and development work”.
TfL also confirmed that “TfL staff have not discussed this work with anyone other than elected representatives”.
Sadiq Khan said: “I strongly support the Crossrail 2 proposals. The project is an absolutely crucial addition to London’s public transport system, and will build on the soon to be opened Crossrail. It will provide much needed additional capacity to the important SW London – Central London – NE London corridor, and relieve pressure on overcrowded overground and underground routes.
“During the construction phase, however, there could be serious implications for Tooting town centre if it does end up being the chosen location and residents mustn’t underestimate the impact on them and businesses of eight year’s drilling and construction.
“These considerations, along with the results of the geological and economic surveys, must be very carefully considered during this process and a decision must not be taken lightly on which location to choose”