Replies to remarks by NO to our rebuttals

Comment by NO Reply
… there has even been speculation that the Council was behind its launch in the first place. The Council were not. Chelsea4crossrail2 was launched in reaction to the exaggerations of the NO campaign, and because the campaign for Crossrail2 was – then – weakly made.
We do challenge C4C2 to state how many supporters they actually have? Our focus has always been on providing the facts, pointing out the suppositions, and leaving people to make up their own minds. We have never run an active campaign of supporter recruitment.
The recent Royal Avenue Residents’ Association vote against the station, already reported here, has shown up the hollowness of the “Yes” case. The leader of the C4C2 campaign, Mr Martin Flash, supported at every turn by the Coleridge family, has argued his case vigorously and in detail to his Royal Avenue neighbours.  He has totally failed to convince even them. The last sentence would be true if the rest was, but it is not. Martin Flash has never argued the YES case in front of Royal Avenue residents. The recent vote (inaccurately reported by NO) took place after a simple recitation of the events of the last 12 months and a question and answer session.
They say our campaign fails to mention the proposed station will be underground. So what ? It’s obvious it will be underground. That doesn’t make it any smaller. It makes a difference to perceptions of likely disruption. Most work will not be noticed however large it is.
They say the Council will control overground development. Even if RBKC Council wanted to do so, it can be overruled by Central Government. Experience elsewhere in London suggests this would be inevitable. Equally telling, C4C2’s and the Council’s own soothing noises about RBKC policies ignore the fact that hitherto the Council has often found a way to ignore even core policies when development pressures were strong enough Can’t disagree, it could happen. It is unlikely.
They claim King’s Road closure has never been mentioned. Richard de Cani of TfL said clearly and openly at a public meeting in the OldTown Hall on 30 September 2013 that Kings Road would be reduced to single file traffic for 5 years.  TfL have been reminded of this statement on several occasions and have never to our knowledge changed or withdrawn it. TfL’s King’s Road “factsheet” states simply that, as the transport authority, they have “an interest on”  (sic) “keeping traffic/buses running on the King’s Road.” Hardly a bankable commitment. We said it is not a current proposal.
They say we claim 72,000 passengers per hour will use the station.  Not so. We point out, factually, that up to 90,000 per hour would pass through a King’s Road station on CR2. TfL may have estimated (their numbers have wobbled) an initial 5,000 per hour embarking and/or disembarking in peak times, but we argue that as the inevitable development pressures come and new development results, the number of users is bound to increase hugely over time to a level which would transform the area Conceivable, but not the current expectation. And the current and future large growth of numbers using both Sloane Square and South Kensington has to be catered for in some manner.
They argue that damage to buildings is “highly unlikely” because of modern techniques and tunnel depth. We point out that proposed depth here is 10 to 20m less than with CR1; that damage from CR1 is a recent fact (e.g. TfL admit every single building in Soho Square has suffered some subsidence;) and that there is absolutely no experiential evidence of the impact of CR size tunnels running under Georgian buildings with very little by way of foundations at this depth Final depths have not been decided but the risk of damage is certainly not zero. It is small.
They object to our expression Mass Transit. It is an entirely reasonable way to describe a middle-distance commuter system with huge passenger numbers Refuted by RBKC, and it does not distinguish it from the Tube.
They say the big retail chains are already on the King’s Road. Yes some are, but only at the eastern end. Why encourage the same change further west ? The chains are all the way down KR. Not all are obvious (trading under different names) and not all are large. Landowners have an interest in diversity and any retail developer will vouch for the need of a mix of outlets for a healthy environment.
They say West Chelsea is poorly served by public transport. Then why on earth support a station close to Sloane Square/South Kensington, and why not follow our MP Greg Hands in promoting an Imperial Wharf CR2 station if that is your concern? The KR station serves the rail-poor area of West Chelsea better,
They claim CR2 serving a King’s Road station is “not a diversion.” Don’t they know the difference between a straight line and a diversion from that line? Yes the original Chelsea/Hackney tube line, not the same as CR2, was planned with a Chelsea stop between Sloane Square and Parsons Green, but this is a diversion from a direct route into central London between Victoria and Clapham Junction. Diversion or not, improved rail connections for Chelsea have always been envisaged.
They think 20 metres deep tunnels are too deep to worry about. We see serious cause for concern with shallower tunnels than for CR1 and with all Chelsea’s old listed buildings. You are entitled to your concern. As there is no detailed design we do not know whether or how these concerns have been addressed
They belittle our concern about an increase in business rates and rents as not coming from official sources. Our information comes from a PwC report commissioned by TfL and included on TfL’s own website TfL do not determine rates., and the study relates to the whole line, not parts of it. Higher rates can only be justified and paid for with higher levels of business
They attack our press release about future demolition and development. Our information came from an internal leaked TfL document quoting specific options being addressed for the future by major developers. Clearly identified demolition elements of the proposed CR2 station and its construction are already openly admitted by TfL. The design is not finalized. No doubt many options are being considered
They claim we downplay or ignore travel time and access benefits for Chelsea residents and visitors. We point out that while a very few may enjoy some benefit, TfL’s claimed journey times and access distances contain multiple inaccuracies. Much more significant, we state that TfL’s own studies for the Mayor show very large cost savings and shorter journey times for massively greater numbers of CR2 users without the proposed station. No complete cost benefit analysis currently exists. Partial views can show anything.
They claim that the latest plans protect Dovehouse Green completely. They fail to note that our major concerns pre-dated TfL’s change of station location from the Fire Station to Sydney Street. They also ignore the impact of thousands of passengers crossing the Green to access the Sydney St. entrance through the east side of Dovehouse Green. It is unclear that there will be any access from the Dovehouse Green side
They throw cold water on our claim that the two local hospitals oppose the station. We have copies of their responses to the TfL consultation which make their opposition clear and which will no doubt be in the public domain in due course. The hospitals have skin in the game, and the opinion is naturally that of their managers as a result.
They imply that much of the opposition to the station is from non-residents of Chelsea. We have documented evidence of who has opposed and they are again simply wrong. We look forward to seeing it.
They suggest that the Chelsea Society’s and our own clear explanation of there being no business case for a King’s Road station is based principally on “the concerns of today’s residents.” This is total nonsense. TfL admit openly there has been no cost-benefit analysis of the proposed station. Business cases are based on cost versus benefit numbers and not on the concerns of any person or group True but it has not be done yet, and would include wider concerns too, like the benefits for Londoners as a whole.
They deny our claim that small local businesses oppose the station. These have just written en masse to the Evening Standard to make their opposition clear It will be interesting to see who and where they are.
They claim that our arguments rest on opinion not facts, e.g. regarding CR1 damage to buildings. This is the clearest possible example of the pot calling the kettle black. Unlike our Council and C4C2, we deal in facts obtained under Freedom of Information requests, not opinions. The facts of CR1 are undeniable. The opinion is that they are relevant.
They argue that “being near a station” does not hurt small businesses. They miss the point entirely. What does the damage is years of disruption and loss of trade which small businesses can’t survive, followed by rent and rates increases which only bigger businesses can afford. The evidence is around all stations on the underground.