There have been several threads on the forum regarding the impact of Thameslink 2000 on the Borough area, but little in the way of accurate information, and some local residents and traders remain relatively unaware of the implications of the proosals for the market area and the northern end of Borough High Street. There is now an 'official' website at http://www.sabmac.co.uk and here's a summary of the current state of play:
Network Rail propose building a new concrete and steel rail viaduct through the historic Borough High Street Conservation Area - requiring demolition and part demolition of: -
Despite a lack of resources and no funding, two local community groups - the Cathedral Area Residents Association (CARA) and the Bankside Residents Forum (BRF) have consistently provided the main opposition to the scheme at the Inquiry - a semi judicial process.
A petition signed by over 10,000 people was also presented to the Inquiry by Mark Rylance of Shakespeare's Globe.
Following the Inquiry in 2002 the Inspector produced a report endorsing the BR/Railtrack scheme stating that the damage to the Borough Market area would be in the public interest weighed against the improvement in public transport Thameslink 2000 would bring. The Inspector identified three areas of deficiency that needed further work including the type of replacement buildings at Borough Market/High Street.
A new Public Inquiry opened on the 6th September 2005, at Bankside House and concludes on the 4th November 2005 when closing submissions will be made.
This is the last chance to put a stop to a scheme that residents believe will have a disastrous effect on a unique and thriving part of London and if you agree with this view and wish to provide support beyond the end of the Inquiry there are several ways to do so:
1] write to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister with your views about the proposals to demolish listed buildings and part of the market roof structure to make way for a new concrete and steel viaduct at:
Office of the DPM
Planning Central Casework Division
3/J3 Eland House
London SW1E 5DU
2] sign the petition on the website [see above]
3] tell anyone who may be able to publicise the threat to the conservation area, i.e press contacts, MPs.
James, any chance of making the link a bit more visible?
Oh God, I sound like a broken record but do not put any faith in J. Prescott, he couldnt give a monkey's f-ck about anything to do with preservation of buildings or character or tradition, he just says Yes to anyone who has some political or financial clout.
I'm not even faintly convinced. London desperately needs Thameslink 2000 - look it's nearly 2006 and we're still faffing about.
Nothing should get in its way, no matter how nice the buildings. And normally I would be the first to defend old buildings.
Just remember that if Hitler hadn't flattened the City, there is no way that the City would thrive the way it currently does, as it would be filled with ancient buildings that would not have provided the flexibility to allow the entirety of London's financial district (until Canary Wharf) to be within a square mile.
Indeed it is nearly 2006. I'm wondering why in this day and age someone wants to RE-build an above-ground railway from 18-something. In general, these things blight urban areas. If someone is planning on spending a whole lot of money on a rail project - why on earth is it not being put into a tunnel underground? Isn't this project a bit like paving a cowpath?
In a place like Norway for example, you'd get laughed out of town if you propsed a project to re-build an 18th century rail viaduct through the middle of a city of this size. It just wouldn't be on. They'd tear it down put it in a tunnel. The cost of tunnelling has been radically reduced in this day and age.
That's the question that's really going through my head. I'm well aware that Prescott and have pretty much sold their soul to developers. This stuff is well documented in Private Eye and even in the daily's.
But in this case maybe the questions should actually start before all that.
>The cost of tunnelling has been radically reduced in this day and age.
Really? So as to make it almost as cheap as an overground line? Do you not remember the troubles the jubilee line extension had with its tunnels? And that's a deep line - so it should be well out of the way of other services and it's also a small-bore tunnel. Thameslink would require a large-bore tunnel.
It's all very well to make comparisons with Norway, but the population of NORWAY is 4.5million - and that of Oslo 533,000. London has a population of 7.5m, that's almost twice as many as the whole of NORWAY! Oslo's population is about the same as that of Croydon!
Some things just aren't practical. Ideally we would knock down everything inside the M25 and start again. However the reality of the situation is that London is a huge railway junction - that's a feature of the different Victorian railway companies' approach to building.
It's now 6 years beyond 2000... and we need Thameslink 2000 desperately - as well as Crossrail. This is not the time to be reinventing the wheel and suggesting putting it underground!
A pretty good list of advantages to the project taken from the Network Rail/Thameslink site;
* Provide an expanded Thameslink network, linking more destinations, and result in quicker and easier journeys for business and leisure travellers across the South East.
* Reduce overcrowding on the Thameslink route by providing up to 20,000 additional seats in peak periods.
* Reduce overcrowding on the underground network.
* Mean less interchanges for passengers in central London and thus reduced journey times.
* Mean longer and more frequent trains along with the expanded route throughout the South East.
* Provide better connection to the new CTYRL hub at St Pancras and improve north south london services by increasing the number of trains between St Pancras and blackfriars from 8 to 24 an hour.
To be honest I think the list of advantages does indeed outweigh losing some buildings around the Market - which has thrived despite being jammed into awkard spaces between viaducts and supporting columns in the first place. And isn't this jarring mish-mash of competing land uses the thing that gives the area a lot of its character?
But it's not just a case of whether T2K should go ahead or not - most people do want to see investment in public transport and are supportive of upgrading Thameslink.
It's whether the preferred option (through London Bridge and knocking down buildings around Borough Market) which will mostly serve places outside London is better than the proposed alternative through the Elephant and focused more on improving services to commuters living in London.
I instinctively prefer the route through Elephant / Herne Hill though I am no expert on the viability or otherwise of this.
Does anyone know how seriously this inquiry can look again at the Elephant option? I think I remember the Network Rail submission saying that it shouldn't really be considered this time as it was rejected the last time and nothing substantial has changed since.