The Pig in the Python – Battersea High Street


JB’s recent posting concerning the building work for Tesco at Elmers End prompted me to check the position of another Tesco project that we have been keeping our eye on – the proposed development at Redhill with its significant knock effects to the development of the former West London Joint Railway Line from Clapham Junction to Willesden.

The following table shows the process required to secure planning permission, assuming that is that the decision is not called in by central government as a result of cross boundary, sub regional or other national issues arising.


Stage 1 Application registered:

Shows that an application has been input into the councils planning system.

Stage 2 Initial neighbour notification:

Is the period when neighbours and other consultees are contacted.

Stage 3 Site inspection:

Indicates that a planning officer has made a site visit.

Stage Assessment:

Is the period when a planning officer is considering all the details of an application in order to form an initial opinion.

Stage 5 Preparation of report:

This indicates that a report is being prepared:

  • Delegated report: for simple applications
  • Report to committee: for large or complex applications
Stage 6 Decision issued:

Indicates that a decision notice has been issued.

The Reigate and Banstead Council Web Site shows that application 09/00606/F is currently at stage two in the planning permission approval process with the latest information being received on the 15th September 2009.

In our original piece we did point out the relationship of the link at Redhill with any plans that might be put in place for the development of the former West London Joint Railway from Clapham Junction to Willesden – in particular the reconciliation of demands for a more intensive passenger service and for freight paths for trains to and from Kent. (We also expressed a view that if Tesco and Network Rail got their heads together with a suitably innovative design that both their aspirations could be met if something like the elevated boxed Shoreditch High Street solution were adopted – but that’s another story)

In the meantime, the MP for Battersea, Martin Linton, has taken his campaign for a station in Battersea High Street to the Commons when he put a question to rail minister Chris Mole. The Minister, as can be seen, neatly sidestepped the question referring Mr Linton to the Mayor’s office.

Battersea High Street station is located near the junction of Gwynne Road and Battersea High Street just to the north of the converging rail branches from Waterloo, the South London Lines and Clapham Junction.

Battersea High Street station was one of the original stations on the line. As ever, Nick Catford provides a comprehensive history of the station, which came to a fiery end at the hands of the Luftwaffe. Battersea Station was closed in 1940 and it has never re-opened.

Although little remains of the original Battersea Station, proponents believe there is still enough room to build a new station on the railway embankments between Battersea High Street and Lombard Road. An alternative would be to build a footbridge on Battersea Railway Bridge that could give pedestrian access to Imperial Wharf station.

Martin Linton said: “I have been pressing for this station to be re-opened for years, but now that London Overground are running more frequent trains along this line and there are more stations – including Westfield’s [I think he means Shepherd’s Bush – MWM] – the case is getting even stronger. Battersea Station was only closed as a result of an air raid during the war – one of 33 London stations closed during world wars and never re-opened, including Walworth, Camberwell, and Wormwood Scrubs. They could all be reopened for a fraction of the cost of Thameslink or Crossrail. I know that money is going to be tight over the next few years, but this would cost a relatively small amount and would be very good value for money. I will be writing to the Mayor of London about this”.

As a battle scarred veteran of the fight for ELLX phase two and having witnessed the long grass grow across the river during the on-off Imperial Wharf saga, I am sure that Mr Linton will have no illusions as to magnitude of scaling the north face of the current Mayor’s current transport agenda. Mr Linton will also be aware that the most painless political way to cut expenditure are those of projects that have never started. But there is another more pernicious threat to his vision – a lack of joined up network thinking.

Regular readers will have already noticed that any LO train stopping at the new station on the old site will sit like a pig in a python. This will cause perturbation in terms of timetabling of freight services over the WLL. The introduction of extra services to enable South London MPs’ constituents to access employment in newly emerging employment centres in London could also be inhibited. Unless, of course, there was a diversionary freight route – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Written by Mwmbwls