Transport for London (TfL) has dropped its plan to close Caledonian Road tube station for 8 months from March after Islington Council threatened a High Court legal challenge.
The dispute occurred after TfL refused to consider an alternative plan for replacing the station’s two lifts. TfL wanted an 8 month total closure. But Islington proposed replacing them one at a time, thereby keeping the station open during the works.
Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, said: “We welcome TfL’s climb down, which shows the council was correct in starting legal proceedings against the decision to close the station for eight months.
TfL says “it would be a waste of public money to fight the council’s legal action” but this is not accurate. TfL caved-in within 4 working days of receiving Islington’s Judicial Review action. They got speedy legal advice which warned transport bosses they had no chance of winning.
TfL says it “will now work with the council to find a solution” and this is very positive indeed. Islington says the lifts can be replaced one at a time and TfL engineers have admitted this is perfectly feasible.
On a typical weekday, almost 10,000 people a day enter and exit the station. The disruption caused by this closure would have been considerable. TfL admitted that most passengers would make an alternative journey via Kings Cross underground station using the already congested bus routes down Caledonian Road.
Cllr Paul Convery adds “the public campaign against this closure shows that TfL cannot afford to ignore its passengers, but sadly TfL bosses did exactly that. The only sat up to pay attention when Islington Council threatened legal action. I want to thank my colleagues Claudia Webbe, Richard Watts and Holloway Councillor, Paul Smith, for their determination and leadership in securing this unprecedented climb-down by TfL.”
Last month, TfL announced that Caledonian Road underground station will be closed for 8 months beginning in January 2016. Thousands of people have already expressed their indignation at this decision which will massively disrupt the 19,000 passenger journeys each day through the station.
The station’s 2 lifts were installed in 1987 and need replacing soon. There are different ways to do this but TfL has chosen an option which is the most convenient for TfL but the most inconvenient for passengers.
TfL has now admitted that it is feasible to replace the lifts one at a time – whilst keeping the station open. Islington Council says this is the option that TfL should now implement.
Please help us to persuade TfL to think again by adding your name to our online petition by clicking here. The petition will be presented to City Hall next week.
Even if you do not regularly use Caledonian Road underground station, it will affect thousands of people who live further south. TfL plans to re-route most of the displaced passengers by bus down to Kings Cross. This will have a huge impact on bus services and congestion further south on Caledonian Road.
Councillors representing the neighbourhoods served by Caledonian Road underground station have backed demands that the Mayor of London should step-in and stop TfL’s 8 month station closure and implement an alternative plan instead.
TfL says both of the station’s 2 lifts need replacing at the same time and this requires full closure of the station from January to August 2016.
Labour has proposed an alternative: replace the lifts one at a time. Indeed, there is a third unused lift shaft at the station into which a new lift could be installed first. Experience from other stations shows it is technically feasible to keep one lift operating whilst the other is being replaced. It is technically and managerially more complicated. It might cost more. But perfectly feasible.
Islington’s Labour Council is actively opposing the closure plan. You can support the campaign by signing our online petition here.
Local councillors will be attending a site visit in the next 10 days with TfL officials. Islington Council’s lead member for transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, has invited senior TfL staff to attend a public meeting to explain their decision and to hear the alternative options which campaigners have identified.
Councillors and residents across the west of Islington have expressed their indignation at the announcement by Transport for London that Caledonian Road underground station will be closed for an 8 month period in 2016.
TfL says the closure is necessary so that the station’s 2 lifts can be replaced. And it has announced the decision unilaterally by distributing thousands of letters to the surrounding residential areas.*
This follows a very similar decision by TfL to close Tufnell Park underground station for a similarly extended period between June 2015 and “mid March 2016”, a decision which provoked a massive public outcry.
Islington Council has reacted strongly to this decision by TfL with Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, expressing her “shock that it will take so long to replace two lifts. This is an unacceptable timeframe which will cause a great deal of inconvenience to local people and businesses in the area. Its closure will also adversely affect disabled users, as it is one of the very few step free access stations in the area.”
Cllr Webbe has asked senior TFL officials to a public meeting in the area, to explain to local people why the upgrade work will take so long.
The station is in Holloway Ward and Cllr Paul Smith who represents the area said “several different options were available to TfL including the replacement of one lift at a time or the replacement work being done to a much faster timescale. The option chosen by TfL, without any consultation, is one that is plainly convenient to TfL but highly inconvenient to passengers.”
Caledonian ward councillor Paul Convery adds: “There is no doubt that the station’s lifts are nearing the end of their 30 year life. But surely TfL should have started renewing their asset some time ago? I fear the impact of closing the station will be to put a huge extra strain on the bus routes down Cally Road towards Kings Cross”
* A copy of the letter distributed by TfL can be read by clicking here.
Caledonian Ward councillors have opposed plans by the Paddy Power gambling company to open another betting shop on Caledonian Road. The premises at 325 Caledonian Road are currently a vacant shop/office on the corner of Lyon Street which is a short cul-de-sac.
To open a new betting shop, Paddy Power has to get two separate permissions from Islington Council: a license and a planning consent.
Cally Councillors have opposed the license application saying it contravenes the Council’s gambling policy:
- the high street already experiences high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour including a specific problem of on-street drinking and another gambling shop will exacerbate these problems.
- the premises are located in a small area containing 5 primary schools and a Children’s Centre
- with two other betting shops in close proximity, this would mean a significant concentration of gambling premises contrary to the Council’s “saturation” policy.
The Paddy Power company does not have a planning consent for the premises. Applications have been submitted for change of use, alterations to the building and for illuminated sign. Cally Councillors will be opposing these applications too.
Councillor Paul Convery adds “Gambling companies are cynically pinpointing areas like the Cally – and other neighbourhoods in Islington where we have the poorest households – to open up betting shops. There’s nothing wrong with putting a few bob on a horse every now and then but these betting shops have aggressive business plans which encourage gambling – especially the use of fixed odds betting terminals which are sophisticated ‘one-arm bandits’ described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling. With two other bookies on the high street, this is one kind of shop the Cally doesn’t need.”
This Sunday, 14th June, is the Cally’s 5th annual festival. It’s the pinnacle event to an all-year-around programme of improvement to our neighbourhood and high street that aims to bridge the gap between the many communities in Cally.
The Festival shows that we really are a community that’s pulling together.
On Sunday, the entire main road between Cally Bridge and Cally Pool will be closed and filled with a street market, dancing, story-telling, a kids zone, street theatre, arts & crafts, food & drink plus, of course, lots of live music. And about 8,000 people.
Click here to download the official festival programme which shows 2015 is going to be the most ambitious ever.
The weather forecast is looking good for Sunday too: dry, light cloud and sunshine with the temperature reaching about 18 degrees by lunchtime.
It all kicks off at noon. There will be a short (very short) “civic” moment at around 4.15pm at the main stage when the Mayor will appear along with MP, Councillors and Leader of the Council.
Local Councillors, Rupert Perry, Una O’Halloran and Paul Convery, look forward to seeing you on Sunday. We’ll be “circulating” or find us at the Cally Labour Councillors stall.
The Caledonian Road two-way traffic scheme is not working as planned and, in its current form, has caused inconvenience and distress. At a public meeting on Monday 8th June, local Councillor, Paul Convery, apologised to those affected and promised that flaws in the scheme would be fixed.
Cllr Convery assured the 50 local residents at the meeting that the number of vehicles on Wharfdale Road has not increased as a result of the scheme. However the flow of traffic is irregular because the phasing of traffic lights at the corner of Wharfdale Road and Caledonian Road does not allow sufficient time for traffic to move from Wharfdale Road into Caledonian Road.
He admitted that the traffic signals are not properly phased but was confident this would be fixed within a fortnight. Although the re-phasing had been promised in March, a technical problem with the system has prevented the “traffic optimisation” electronics from working properly.
Convery reiterated that the Council had introduced the scheme for good reasons and this had been supported by a four to one majority in a public consultation. The new layout was intended to:
- reduce the congestion and queuing that had affected the lower parts of Caledonian Road;
- achieve a traffic calming effect on the lower parts of Caledonian Road, especially high speed driving
- improve the pedestrian environment around the Killick Street junction;
- create a safe cycle route from Wharfdale Road into Killick Street (south) and towards Pentonville Road
Although the incorrect phasing of the signals is the main problem causing queues, Cllr Convery has proposed further measures to protect residents from excessive standing traffic:
- Close-off entry from Killick Street (south) into Caledonian Road
- Impose HGV restrictions on Wharfdale Road
- Change the lights phasing at the junction of Wharfdale Road and York Way and introduce a “straight-across” pedestrian crossing
- Retaining no-right turn from Goods Way into York Way southbound
- Reviewing the parking conditions on Caledonian Road bus lane
Fuller details of the proposals are listed in a statement produced for Monday’s meeting.Cllr Convery also apologised on behalf of the Council saying: “I am very sorry that we were unable to implement the correct phasing of the lights from the very start. I hope that the proposed measures will return traffic flow to previously experienced patterns and that, over the longer term, we can fundamentally reduce the amount of traffic on Wharfdale Road and the surrounding streets which make up the north section of the Kings Cross gyratory.”