by Pauline Gaunt (Friends of Vauxhall Bus Station)
Council Leader Lib Peck wrote on 14 October to say that “We have not settled on only two options for how to redo the gyratory and the public realm … To help us test some of the key criteria for any change we have asked TfL to work on two schemes to date to say if either are possible. … We will not be returning to a situation where bus stops appear to be scattered throughout the area.”
Our friends at DATA have however brought our attention to an interesting legal agreement between Lambeth Council and TfL, concerning the Northern Line Extension (NLE). The agreement, which has been under discussion for many months, has four consequences for local residents and others.
First, perhaps in return for Lambeth supporting the NLE, it looks as though TfL have legally committed to identifying only one option for the removal of the gyratory.
Second, it seems that this one option will be put out for public “consultation” only after it has been signed off – and its funding agreed – by both Lambeth’s Cabinet and the TfL Board.
Third, unless the two bodies decide that the removal of the gyratory is worth c.£75m (of our money!), the preferred option will not involve the widening of the railway bridge on Kennington Lane, thus returning Vauxhall Cross to the traffic configuration as it was before the introduction of the gyratory. My recollection is that TfL introduced the gyratory in order to improve traffic flow in and around Vauxhall Cross. If so, then reverting to two-way traffic might mean that jams become more frequent, which will be of concern to those in e.g. Albert Square and Fentiman Road who may see increased rat-running.
Fourth, both of the two options (from which the winner will be chosen) involve demolition of the bus station and dispersal of the bus stops around local roads.
Extracts from the agreement are as follows (emphasis added):
“LB Lambeth [confirms] its aspiration to remove the gyratory … The project [will consist] of at least two options … The two options that have been developed for further assessment are Option A: two way working without widening of Kennington Lane, and Option B: two way working with widening of Kennington Lane … Both schemes are to be forwarded to the TfL Board to make a decision on a preferred option. Once a decision is reached both TfL and Lambeth will develop a funding package to ensure it is implemented.”
The two bodies will “commission further work on urban design … based on a jointly approved scope and brief” [leading to] an “urban design framework” for the “district centre” including the current sites of the bus and tube stations.
The key elements of the agreement’s timetable are:-
- Completion of the Funding Agreement by June 2014
- TfL Board approval (of the preferred option) in July 2014, [i.e. after funding has been agreed?],
- Scheme design begins August 2014,
- Lambeth Cabinet/Committee Approval in September 2014, followed by
- public consultation in September/October 2014.
This timetable appears to leave no scope for the introduction of any option other than that preferred by TfL and the Council, who will in turn choose between the two non-bus station options being worked up by TfL. This rules out the retention of the bus station.
The agreement appears to be so inconsistent with Lib Peck’s assurances, and the proposed “consultation” such a sham, that I hope to hear that I have misread it. I am accordingly copying this email to her and to other local Councillors so that they can correct me if I am wrong. You can also correct me after reading the agreement for yourself (see in particular Appendix 1), and reviewing the two options being considered by TfL, by following these links:-