Chelsea to Hackney line
Though the Royal Borough remains one of the country's richest areas, its continued economic success is by no means guaranteed. To help secure its future, Kensington and Chelsea Council is doing all it can to ensure the area can continue to compete with surrounding boroughs on a range of levels.
A reliable and effective transport infrastructure has always played a vital role in any buoyant economy and securing the Chelsea to Hackney Line – so called because the line would provide a direct link between the two areas across central London – may well be one way of helping to ensure a vibrant economic future for the area. The new line would relieve traffic congestion and ensure Kensington and Chelsea remains one of the most attractive to traders and residents alike.
Plans for the line have historically meant the new line would have two stations in the borough – King's Road (near Chelsea Old Town Hall) and Sloane Square. But in announcing a consultation on the issue earlier this year, the Department for Transport removed any reference to a station at Sloane Square and provided no explanation.
The Council's official response will include a robust demand for an explanation for the removal of this station. But what else can be done to the ensure the line's future? Here we look at the options available and we ask whether you think a new tube link through the borough is a plausible option.
Setting the scene
The line was put forward in 1970 as a way of relieving pressure on other tube lines in South West London and at the time was seen as a natural successor to the newly-built Victoria Line. The proposal was placed on the back-burner until it was put forward again in the Central London Rail Study of 1989 – instead the Jubilee Line extension took precedence.
In 1991 the proposed route was safeguarded to prevent any future developments threatening the route. The DfT is about to review and renew the safeguarded route and is currently consulting on the issue.
Though there are still no firm plans to build the new line – Crossrail is currently a higher priority – the review has provoked renewed interest in the scheme. Transport for London has promised a ‘back to basics’ review of the Chelsea to Hackney line, one which will consider all the issues involved and guide future thinking.
What do you think about the DfT's decision to remove plans to run the Chelsea to Hackney line through Sloane Square? Do you think scrapping this station would affect the borough adversely?
As there are currently no formal plans for a Chelsea-Hackney line, a number of options are still open and a number of different routes may well be secured. The original route, running from Parsons Green on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line, along King's Road and through Sloane Square to Victoria is one.
Another option is running the route through Clapham Junction to Imperial Wharf⁄Chelsea Harbour (where there would be a new station), then on to a new station serving the King’s Road near Chelsea Town Hall and then Sloane Square and Victoria.
But there has also been talk of running the route through Clapham Junction and placing a station at Battersea Park, avoiding Chelsea altogether,although this could potentially mean a significant reduction in how the borough is served.
Another option which is on the table would be to build an underground station beneath King's Road between Sloane Square and Chelsea Town Hall, with entrances at each end which would preclude the need for two stations, an option which would potentially require larger rolling stock.
No decision about the Chelsea-Hackney line is likely before the completion of the proposed Crossrail link, which is set to run underneath central London. This effectively means the line, even assuming it goes ahead, is unlikely to be completed before 2025.
Kensington and Chelsea Council believes that at this early stage it is vital to commit to the project in principle and keep a route which passes through the borough firmly on the agenda.
What other options do you think could be included? Would you prefer three new tube stations in the borough, or would two stations, with one covering a wider area, suffice?