Businesses warn proposed rail cuts may isolate Streatham

Councillor Jeremy Clyne was campaigning at Streatham station on Tuesday

Councillor Jeremy Clyne was campaigning at Streatham station on Tuesday

First published in News Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Proposed cuts to a “crucial” direct rail link to central London could isolate Streatham’s economy, hitting house prices, businesses and the leisure industry, it is feared.

Currently, Thameslink services stop at Streatham, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Loughborough, go direct services to St Pancras International, the future Crossrail interchange at Farringdon.

But the Department for Transport (DfT) is running a consultation, which ends next week, proposing to terminate Wimbledon loop trains at Blackfriars from 2018.

As Streatham has no Tube connection, there are concerns the move could deter any potential visitors from central London, with disastrous implications for the local economy.

Already some residents are considering moving from the area, fearing the value of their homes could fall.

Will Staddon and his flatmates only moved to near Tulse Hill station because of the quick train ride to work in the City.

Mr Staddon said: “We would end up moving out because there would not be any upside to living there.”

Councillor Jeremy Clyne, who was out campaigning at the station on Tuesday, said: “Improved transport connections are a recognised factor in boosting an area both in terms of house prices and in economic development and employment generation.

“It follows that if an important rail service is lost an area can become far less attractive, particularly when other areas are benefiting from improved transport links.”

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said any reduction in the service would negatively impact the viability of businesses and house prices.

He said: “I am incredibly concerned... the impression, let alone the reality, that those in Government are abandoning the transport needs of our area could be extremely damaging to our businesses.”

Frances Strachan, manager of the Hideaway Jazz club next to Streatham station, said businesses working hard to develop the area would suffer if plans went through.

Ms Strachan said: “It’s unbelievable. We rely on that fantastic little link.”

Lee Alley, chairman of the Streatham Business Board, said people would be put off coming to set up business or to visit shops, and it could affect the footfall on the multi-million pound Streatham Hub development – located next to the station as it is a key transport interchange – the development’s associated planned ice rink in the Hub and music events at the Hideaway.

Mr Alley said: “It’s cutting off a huge chunk of south London. We can’t come in and they can’t come to us.”

Marc Wiehe, director of Winkworth estate agents in Streatham High Road, said cutting the service would be a “backward step” for the area.

He said: “Putting a price on how it would affect house prices is very, very difficult.

“But it would be a backward step for the area and that cannot be good news.”

Councillor Lib Peck, Lambeth Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and strategic housing, said: “The proposed changes would cause great inconvenience for hundreds of residents and potential over-crowding and congestion at Blackfriars station.”

The DfT consultation ends on September 14. Email views to thameslink@dft.gsi.gov.uk or write to the Combined Franchise Replacement Sponsor, Department for Transport, Zone 3/15, Great Minister House, 33 Horseferry Road, SW1P 4DR.

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