Campaigners are calling on the public to join the fight for a tube station at Bricklayers Arms at a rally this Saturday.
The rally has been organised in a bid to persuade Transport for London to build a third tube station at the site as part of the Bakerloo Line extension.
Earlier this year, TfL consulted on plans to build two tube stations on the Old Kent Road and a 25 metre-high ventilation shaft at Bricklayers Arms as part of plans for the £3billion extension.
But the proposals came under fire from residents and businesses in the area who opposed the ventilation shaft and called for a tube station instead.
Suhel Ahmed, who owns Tower Tandoori restaurant on Tower Bridge Road, told the News a ventilation shaft would mean six to seven years of major works and disruption to the community “with nothing to show for it at the end”.
He also said the area desperately needed a “transport hub” to survive.
Bermondsey Street Area Partnership, Tower Bridge Road Alliance, and Bricklayers Arms Tenants’ and Residents’ Association will hold a rally at the Bricklayers Arms roundabout from 11.45am to 12.15pm on Saturday, November 4.
Former Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Sir Simon Hughes said he was confident there would be speakers representing the Green, Liberal Democrat, Labour, and Conservative parties, as well as businesses in the area.
Matthew Yates, TfL’s head of transport planning and projects, previously told the News: “We did carefully consider the Bricklayers Arms junction as a possible station location prior to the public consultation, but we decided it was not suitable as there was insufficient available land to allow for construction. It is also close to the existing Tube network.
“Following the results of the public consultation we will now carefully review our plans for the Bakerloo line extension, while continuing to liaise closely with the local community.”
To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the hashtag #bricklayerstube
‘It’s not viable’
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle has said Bricklayers Arms would not be a viable site for a tube station.
Speaking to the News, the Labour MP said a viability report concluded the site was not big enough and that homes would have to be demolished to build a tube station.
“Southwark Labour backed the Bakerloo line extension from the word go,” he said.
“They got TfL to do the viability study which concluded that Bricklayers Arms is not viable because the site is too tight but people are being egged on to turn up [to the rally].
“The footprint would have to be expanded and that can’t happen without including existing homes; you are talking at least 1,000 homes to go in order to pay for higher buildings to accommodate the footprint that the new station would need.
“The land grab that would go with it to make it viable would be colossal.”
Mr Coyle said the proposals for two stations on Old Kent Road made more sense as there would be less disruption to the community.
Councillor Damian O’Brien, Southwark Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, said he was told by TfL at a meeting in July that no decision had been made regarding the sites for stations as part of the Bakerloo line extension.
“I have double checked with Caroline Pidgeon AM who co-chairs the mayor’s transport committee and she confirms that no recommendations have come forward and no sites have been ruled out,” he said.
“TfL have since advised that a further consultation will be undertaken in 2018 with a decision on alignment expected by mid-2018. TfL have discussed the possible engineering challenges the Bricklayers site may bring but when pushed, admitted that these are unknown and just concerns. The area they need is underground so no homes would be put at risk. I hope our MP sees that a tube station at Bricklayers would be so beneficial to so many local people in terms of travel time, congestion and air quality.”
Sir Simon Hughes added:?“If you don’t fight hard for something, you won’t get it, and TfL have made clear they are considering the case for a tube station at the Bricklayers Arms.”
The News approached TfL for comment shortly before deadline but did not receive a response.