TfL have held little-publicised “local engagement events” to show their plans for the bus station before they apply to Lambeth for planning permission in “Spring 2017”. Plans are also available on website https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/vauxhall-cross. Comments are invited at STengagement@tfl.gov.uk . No deadline is given for comments, but please send yours in as soon as possible.
Two of our major objectives have been partially achieved:
1. TfL have accepted that all the bus stops should remain in the centre of the transport hub.
BUT Only half the bus stops are in the main part of the new bus station on Bondway and visible to each other. The other half of the bus stops are roadside on Kennington Lane, very close to the tunnel under the railway, and three on Wandsworth Road. Some of the latter are on the other side of the as yet unknown development on the Island Site. There is no way of knowing how they will be reached from the main bus station. They will certainly not be visible. And all these stops will be beside heavily polluted main roads.
2. They have apparently now accepted that there should not be a multi-story commercial development the length of Bondway. The new canopy would be glass-roofed and only one storey in height.
BUT the canopy would not extend to the edge of the pavements, so passengers will get wet when boarding or exiting buses in the rain. And the canopy loses one of the key security features of the present bus station, that passengers can see into the bus station from the bus. Both could be rectified if the new canopy was a few feet higher than envisaged and extended to the edge of the pavement in Bondway. This could also extend over the proposed new road cutting the bus station in half.
HOWEVER there remains a big issue about the bus stops, in Kennington Lane and adjacent to the island site in Wandsworth Road. So far as we can see, these will simply be bus shelters beside busy roads and vulnerable to the sort of bus queues in the rain we see at bus stops on other main roads like Brixton High Street or Aldwych.
Other issues include the plans for information boards, at present planned only for the Railway Station end of Bondway. There must be information about services at both ends of the bus station and around the site. And there is no information about the use to which the new “Station Square” between the rail and tube stations will be put. There is a risk of further development plans being put forward in separate planning applications.
AND a huge imponderable is the future of the Island site. Until it is known what will be built there, any suggestion that the stops on Wandsworth Road are part of the “bus station” are pure fantasy.
TfL continue to maintain that Our Vauxhall’s alternative plan for two-way traffic is not possible. Our Vauxhall’s scheme would reduce pollution around the whole interchange. We continue to support it. The displays about the bus station do not include any detailed information about traffic flows, apart from bus routes, and are very thin on vital details.
Publicity for these displays has been minimal (amateurish A3 sheets sellotaped to some of the glass partitions in the bus station). Please let us know if you knew about the display dates this week. And please look at the plans on line and send in your comments as soon as possible.
Pauline and Helen