Newsletter Number One: 7 March 2012
DATA is the umbrella group for many major residents associations in the Vauxhall area of Lambeth. It invites other resident groups across the VNEB development area to become associated with it. It is looking at the proposal to develop a Northern Line Extension (NLE) and whether a better deal for current residents could be achieved through a more diverse transport strategy.
DATA is talking to TfL, local Councillors, developers and, through residents associations, to the residents who will or may be affected by the VNEB. It will shortly be approaching Lambeth Council to talk about their decisions on spending money and supporting the NLE and asking why they are not looking at a more diverse transport strategy. Ask your residents association to contact DATA if they are not already in touch.
DATA is not against development as such, nor does it focus on the development itself. It is looking at the best transport solutions for the proposed development across the whole VNEB area, from Vauxhall to Battersea Power Station. This does feed back into the development question, for example where DATA is working with TfL and local Lambeth Councillors on ideas around altering the Vauxhall gyratory.
There is a lot of misinformation, disinformation and speculation in the public domain about the proposed NLE. DATA aims to dig down to get hard facts and provide a balanced forum for stakeholders to draw reliable information on which to make decisions. It takes issue where claims appear to be unsupported by facts, or appear skewed. For example, DATA is unimpressed with the claims made that there is widespread support for the NLE: this is based on (at best) 5% of the affected population agreeing that a form of Underground service to Battersea Power Station would improve its transport link. This is hardly an endorsement for a Northern Line that will run from Battersea Power Station to Kennington at a cost of almost one billion pounds.
DATA has recently had very positive and helpful talks with TfL (who have sought to explain their rationale for choosing to develop the Northern Line). TfL have undertaken studies that demonstrate how a NLE would be able to carry the passenger load of the predicted densest population build expected for the VNEB development. But there are many assumptions for that figure which DATA is discussing with TfL. DATA has also raised with TfL how the project will be funded and financed. So far there is a huge gap on what is predicted to be available, even on best case scenarios and what will be needed, even on lowest cost predictions. DATA is also querying whether a more diverse transport strategy would be more appropriate and much easier to afford. TfL have agreed to maintain a dialogue with DATA, so watch this space for more.