Mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected suggestions that approval of the Canada Water Masterplan will lead to transport overcrowding in SE16.
Concerns about transport was notably the most pressing issue raised by residents at two planning meeting earlier this month for the £3.3bn Masterplan earlier this month.
Several, including ward councillors for areas affected by the £3.3bn plan, warned of ‘transport chaos’ if it went ahead.
However, planning committee councillors unanimously approved British Land’s scheme – the largest in Southwark history – after being reassured by TfL that a package of transport measures would mitigate the impact of up to 3,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs.
Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat deputy chair of City Hall’s Transport Committee and former Southwark councillor, grilled Mayor Khan on overcrowding at Mayor’s Question Time this month.
“Can you explain why TfL indicated to Southwark Council that the Canada Water Masterplan should go ahead, despite being a scheme that will add 20-30,000 additional commuters into the area and approximately 3,500 new residents,” she said.
“With tube and Overground services already operating at capacity and predicted to continue to do so by 2031, how will these additional passengers be accommodated?”
But Mayor Khan said on Monday a £33m package for transport improvements as part of the 53-acre Masterplan would reduce the impact of overcrowding at Canada Water and nearby.
“TfL has helped secure over £30m for local transport enhancements as part of the development’s mitigation package, including improvements to Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations, over and above substantial borough and Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy payments,” he said.
“This package, coupled with wider improvements such as the Elizabeth line and improvements to the East London Line, will ensure that the development can be accommodated while not worsening current levels of crowding.
“TfL is also working on proposals to increase the capacity of the Jubilee line by increasing peak frequency from 30 to 32 trains per hour in the central section.”
Assembly Member Pidgeon also asked whether allowing the mammoth development breached planning rules which state developments cannot overwhelm local transport networks.
But Mayor Khan responded: “Firm plans do exist for an increase in capacity to cater for the development.
“This conclusion was supported by Southwark officers and members of the Council’s planning committee, who voted unanimously to approve the development.”
Among the measures contained in the Plan to deal with transport overcrowding include increased capacity at Surrey Quays, more staff at Canada Water station and two new bus routes.
Concerns have previously been raised about overcrowding at the station by Labour’s Florence Eshalomi, who said many of her constituents were worried about their safety while waiting for a train.