Proposals to build a Crossrail 2 station on the King’s Road have been dealt a new and significant blow today, as – within just days of the proponents going public – 80 of Chelsea’s smaller but most specialist and individualistic local businesses have already teamed up to unanimously opposing the plans.
They join more than 10,000 individuals as well as the Brompton and Marsden hospitals in opposition, leaving the local Council supported only by major property interests for a new £1.2 billion mega station on the King’s Road.
Their letter today follows a similar note last month from Harrods and other institutions in Knightsbridge and South Kensington supporting the station. This was met with widespread criticism from campaigners, who said it was no business of companies more than one mile away to comment on the Chelsea proposals, especially when they have their own underground stations nearby.
Signatures of today’s letter opposing the proposed King’s Road station include local restauranteurs, florists, butchers, printers, couturiers, publicans, opticians, chemists, fishmongers, hairdressers, newsagents, stationers and estate agents.
A station on the King’s Road in Chelsea will result in higher rents and, according to a Crossrail report, 50 per cent higher business rates upon completion. Businesses will also see reduced takings during eight years of construction, with road closures forcing shoppers elsewhere.
The letter states:
“We are not celebrities. We are small and medium sized businesses in Chelsea who are concerned about our livelihoods and the preservation of the neighbourhood we love.
“Chelsea already has excellent transport links, with access to two tube stations and five bus routes. It remains a cultural gem in West London with a unique village atmosphere that must be preserved.
“Crossrail 2 will force business rates up by 50 per cent and put many of our futures at risk. It will also radically alter Chelsea’s unique character, to the detriment of our community. People live, work and visit here because it is not like anywhere else in London – and we don’t want that to be ruined.
“We are aware that big businesses, many of which are not even based in Chelsea, have teamed up with property developers to support the station. However, representing businesses that actually operate on or near the King’s Road, we oppose a Chelsea Crossrail station.”
Rob Conghlin, owner of the Flower Yard, said:
“It’s all very well for the likes of Harrods. They are a massive business based in Knightsbridge. But we are small businesses actually trading in Chelsea – and if this Crossrail 2 station is built on the King’s Road we will go out of business.”
Moddy Moss from Vanilla Hair said:
“My business won’t be able to cope with the King’s Road being at least partially closed for a period of eight years while this station is built. When it’s finally finished, we certainly won’t be able to cope with the chain stores, increased rent and increased business rates that will come in as a result.”
Chris Lenon, Chair of the No Crossrail in Chelsea campaign, said:
“It is now time for TfL to listen. Over 10,000 people, more than 75 local businesses and our two local hospitals all oppose Crossrail 2 coming to Chelsea. The plans must be scrapped.
“Our Council arrogantly dismisses our campaign as being supported by just a few rich celebrities. Their view demonstrates a willful disdain for their own electorate and business community, this letter shows how wrong they are.
“The scale of the uprising in Chelsea has now become evident. Our message to the Council is clear. Change course now, listen to your voters and withdraw your support for Crossrail in Chelsea. If you don’t, we will be running candidates against you at the next local elections.”
No Crossrail in Chelsea campaigners presented their 10,000 strong petition to the Mayor of London last week.
Transport for London say 19,000 people responded to their recent public consultation on the entire Crossrail 2 route. The No Crossrail in Chelsea campaign have copies of of 8000 responses opposing the King’s Road station and are aware of a further 1500 supporting an Imperial Wharf station instead – meaning more than half of the whole of London oppose Crossrail 2 in Chelsea.
For a full list of signatories, click here.
For the Evening Standard coverage, click here.