Our local Council’s reaction to the TfL consultation report is disappointing but sadly predictable. Their blind support for a King’s Road station irrespective of local opinion or objective analysis has been clear for some time. This is not a Council which listens. It is one which seeks to dictate.
The outcome of the recent consultation could not have been clearer. According to TfL there were 14,716 comments on the proposal for a King’s Road station and 12637 (86%) of them were unsupportive or opposed. This is a massive demonstration of popular feeling. The Council tries to ignore this by claiming that because many of the respondents gave no specific reason for their objection their views should be ignored. This shows a contempt for democracy. When we vote, we vote. We don’t have to write an essay explaining why.
Even when specific objections are made the Council tries to wish them away. For example, talk of construction “chaos” is, according to the Council, “misplaced”. Is it? According to TfL’s plans the construction of a King’s Road station would involve the demolition of all the buildings on the King’s Road between Astell Street and Markham Street (with the exception of The Pheasantry) and the conversion of the whole area into a giant building site for up to ten or so years. If this is not construction chaos what is?
There is one phrase in the Council’s statement with which we agree, namely that “it is of great importance that long-term infrastructure projects are decided on robust evidence”. There is robust evidence in favour of Crossrail 2 as a whole but not in favour of a station on the King’s Road. No cost-benefit analysis of the case for one has been carried out. And the recent report by the National Infrastructure Commission called into question the justification for spending a billion pounds on it, given that it would not provide the strategic interchange or crowding relief of other stations.
It seems that whatever local residents or independent experts say about this proposal RBKC will find a way to ignore it. We have asked Councillor Paget-Brown, the Council Leader, for a public meeting on the consultation result so that he can hear directly what Chelsea residents think about the issue. We look forward to his response.