Tuesday, August 14, 2012

HURRY! The Thameslink Consultation ends soon


To object follow this link

As local councillors Monica Coleman, JayneMcCoy and I are very concerned about the continued reduction in train services from Sutton and Wallington and the failure to extend services to our area in the past. Opportunites have been missed to extend the East London Line (Overground) to Wallington and beyond. The Tramlink extension hasn’t materialised yet and our trains will be overcrowded for many years to come.

Now we face another cut to our services. If they go ahead, the changes will mean that our Thameslink trains will stop at Blackfriars with no through trains to Farringdon, St Pancras International and Luton Airport. And this at a time when the Mayor of London has just introduced a local tax on development by the to pay for Crossrail – which won’t benefit local commuters.

In 2009 I set up the Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group in 2009 to oppose changes to our Thameslink train services as set out in the South London Route Utilisation Strategy proposals.

The Campaign Group fights for the retention of through services from the loop line. This group is made up of elected members (MPs, AMs and Councillors) from the four south London boroughs on the loop line route.

The consultation closes on 23rd August so please write to register your objections to the Thameslink changes. You can email your views or objections to the changes to the Department for Transport here


Here is our response to the consultation. 
Use as much or as little of it as you wish in your own reply:

Response to the Department for Transport Combined Thameslink Franchise Consultation
From Councillors Monica Coleman, Colin Hall, and Jayne McCoy, Liberal Democrat Councillors for Wallington South, London Borough of Sutton

1. We are the elected Liberal Democrat Councillors for Wallington South Ward, which is served by Wallington Station.

2. Councillor Colin Hall set up the Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group in 2009 in response to th South London Route Utilisation Strategy proposals.  The Campaign Group fights for the retention of through services from the loop line. This group is made up of elected members (MPs, AMs and Councillors) from the four south London boroughs on the loop line route. The Group will be submitting a separate response on this issue.  

3. Wallington South is largely residential and contains the second largest district centre in the London Borough of Sutton. The town centre has recently undergone significant improvements and investment.

4. A large number of our residents commute daily into central London for work.  From our correspondence with local residents it is clear that a large number of people commute to stations north of Blackfriars, including Farringdon / Crossrail, St.Pancras and St Albans. Many of our residents chose to move to the London Borough of Sutton because of its excellent public transport connections but tell us that these have been eroded over time.

5. Residents of the Ward also tell us they consider they value the direct service from Sutton and Hackbridge to St. Pancras International, for Continental Europe, and Luton airport. 

6. As local councillors we are very concerned about the continued diminution of train services from Sutton and Wallington and the failure to extend services to our area in the past. For example the East London Line (Overground) stops at West Croydon when it could have been extended to Wallington or beyond.

7. We are also concerned that the investment in Crossrail is being funded by the Mayor of London’s Community Infrastructure Levy which taxes development in our area without any tangible benefit for our residents.

8. We are also concerned that long term ‘overcrowding maps’ for train routes around London show that Sutton will be amongst the last to benefit from plans to resolve the problem. It is unacceptable that our commuters have to suffer significant overcrowding for longer than other areas. 

9. Councillor Hall visited the engineering team and Blackfriars in 2011 and was told that whilst it was technically possible for trains from Sutton to continue to use the Snow Hill tunnel it would reduce the number of trains that can pass through the tunnel and delay other (new) services. On the basis of this discussion we are concerned that Network Rail considers that the new routes are already decided.

10. Despite the “engineering view” (above), we are pleased that Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Transport has indicated in a letter to Councillor Hall that no decision has yet been made.

11. We are also disappointed that the draft South London Route Utilisation Strategy did not mention the planned changes to the Wimbledon loop. As a consequence the council, councillors and local residents did not have an opportunity to comment on the proposals.

12. Terminating Wimbledon Loop services at Blackfriars would result in our residents losing their cross-London service. This will penalise those of our residents who have made their residential, employment and educational location decisions on the basis of the existence of the cross-London Thameslink service. Many residents, who chose to live in the London Borough of Sutton on the basis of an existing pattern of transport connections, would lose a service that they have had for many years, and based their life around. It will also have an impact on those who commute to Sutton. This will potentially have an adverse impact on the local economy.

13. Any decision should take account of the impact of changes on the travel patterns of existing passengers, and of consequent requirements to change established travel patterns. It is because of the impact on Sutton residents that we object to any proposal that would result in terminating Wimbledon loop trains at Blackfriars.

14. The proposed changes will remove a valued connection with Eurostar and domestic long distance trains at St. Pancras International and Kings Cross. Our residents will have to change trains at Blackfriars, carrying possibly heavy luggage onto already crowded trains. This movement could be particularly difficult from the western bay platform when travelling north and to either bay platform when travelling south because of the platform lengths and the position of lifts and stairs at each end of the platforms. The recent Passenger Focus passenger survey found that having to change trains was a strong disincentive to train travel.

15. Sutton is identified in the London Plan as one of only four Metropolitan town centres in south London, with a large and growing population and employment base. It is a major business centre with many commuters and business travellers. It is therefore essential that Sutton, as a strategic south London destination, retains its connections to central and north London and beyond, and maintains its direct link to St. Pancras and the City.

16. We also believe that the attractiveness of Sutton to employers considering re-location away from expensive offices in central London would be affected. Sutton is a location from which one can travel to Brussels with just two train journeys, one taking 45 minutes and one two hours, and the journey to Paris is only fifteen minutes longer. We have been successful in attracting businesses to Sutton and this change would have a negative impact, particularly given the expected mushrooming of international train travel from St. Pancras over the next few years. These negative effects would impact on Sutton residents who want to work locally in Sutton.

17. We thus strongly object to any proposal that would result in terminating Wimbledon loop trains at Blackfriars from 2018.

18. We are aware that Sutton Council and the Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group are submitting comments, and support those comments. However, we are making this submission to draw particular attention to the impact on our residents in Wallington South Ward.

MONICA COLEMAN
COLIN HALL
JAYNE MCCOY

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Wallington South
London Borough of Sutton


No comments:

Here is the news:

Loading...