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Waterloo East new entrance: residents force Network Rail to rethink

Plans for a new entrance to Waterloo East Railway Station in Greet Street have gone back to the drawing board after pressure from local residents who said the "absurd" proposal would make their lives a misery.

Waterloo East
The proposed location of the new entrance

We reported in March that Network Rail had submitted an application to create a new entrance/exit to Waterloo East Station in Greet Street.

Lambeth Council's planning applications committee was due to consider the proposal last month with officers recommending it be turned down, but the application was withdrawn at the last moment.

"Following discussions with planners at Lambeth Council and local residents, Network Rail has postponed the planning application for a second entrance at Waterloo East station in order to fully consider alternative options," says Network Rail's Gary Gaskarth.

"We are still committed to finding a scheme that will help provide better access to the local area and relieve congestion for the millions of passengers who use both Waterloo East and Waterloo stations every year."

The application had been strongly opposed by the Octavia Hill Residents' Assocation because the new entrance would be just a few yards from homes in Tait House.

"It has come as a great relief to residents that this absurd planning application to place a second entrance in a quiet residential street has been withdrawn," says chairman Chairman Ray Keavey.

"Some of the flats are less than 12 metres from where the entrance would be located and to inflict the misery of two million passengers per year doesn't bear thinking of."

Residents met Network Rail officials on a site visit arranged in conjunction with London Assembly member Val Shawcross. They suggested alternative locations for the new entrance, including the current fire exit to the north of the railway arches with access onto Hatfields.

At that meeting Network Rail offficials revealed that the new entrance would only be open on weekdays during peak hours.

"We have already met with residents and taken on board their comments and concerns," says Gary Gaskarth.

"As a result of these discussions we postponed our original planning application in order to fully assess other options. We are currently working through the two concepts suggested to us by the residents and we hope to announce our findings soon."

We asked Network Rail if they had discussed with London Underground the option of making it possible for mainline passengers to enter and leave Waterloo East via the Southwark Underground Station ticket hall on Blackfriars Road.

At the moment Travelcard holders can use this route but holders of other types of ticket must pay for a platform ticket.

"There are a number of shortcomings with this option," said Mr Gaskarth. "We are concentrating our resources into developing a better all-round solution."

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