Soho's Curzon Cinema and a chunk of King's Road aren't the only well-loved bits of London at risk as a result of the proposed route for Crossrail 2. A great swathe of Wandsworth Common has been earmarked for a ventilation shaft.
Surely Wandsworth Common isn’t on the route?
The plan emerged when TfL announced that they are considering an alternative route that would go via Balham rather than Tooting. It would turn Wandsworth Common into a building site for five years without the benefit of creating a new transport link (you can already travel from Clapham Junction to Balham on the Overground).
So we’re guessing the locals are up in arms?
Yep. This is Nappy Valley, remember, and – apart from the loss of well-used open space – this would turn what is currently a route along the common used by hundreds of families headed for the seven schools in the immediate vicinity into a building site for five long, dusty, noisy years.
What's to be done?
TfL has been slow to keep the people of SW11 and SW12 properly informed – so campaigners have organised a blizzard of flyers and they’re urging everyone affected to complete the questionnaire on Crossrail’s consultation site (the consultation closes on January 8 2016). Jane Ellison, MP for Battersea, seems to be sitting on the fence but MP for Tooting and mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan supports the original Tooting route. That would genuinely open up new public transport links, including to St George’s Hospital.
Sounds like the stakes are high…
Too right. Last Saturday the campaigners marked out the site with tape – it's about the size of a football pitch – and asked supporters along for a photo call. It was an impressive turn out – plus you've never seen so many cute dogs and kids dressed in Boden. This is the area known as Between the Commons in estate-agent parlance. There's a very real danger that it'll be rechristened Between Clapham Common and the Massive Building Site. And no one wants that!
Got questions? You can ask them at the TfL consultation, which is outside 7-9 Bellevue Rd, SW17 7EG, on Dec 12, 11am-4pm.
Sign the petition (it's a bit fiddly but persevere – more than 800 people have already jumped through the hoops).