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Ealing and Northfield

Integrated transport interchange

One of the main talking points tonight was the idea of an integrated transport interchange, let’s call it the ITI. Quite rightly Labour transport spokesman Bassam Mahfouz raised the £40-50 million cost of what SEC is proposing. Some time was spent discussing ideas of how this kind of money could be raised. One American lady wanted to tax users of the station. Bassam himself proposed and quickly withdrew the idea of using a local congestion charge.

The idea that this amount of cash is going to come from central government or TfL over the next decade is a total non-starter. To give some idea of scale the over-sized Arcadia development was only ever going to produce £10 million of Section 106 contributions. These contributions need to cover all sorts of local issues they can’t all go to transport. If you built ten Arcadias in Ealing town centre you could perhaps fund the ITI. For another idea of scale the council’s capital budget is about £50 million per annum. This needs to pay for new schools (about £50-60 million), new road surfaces (about £25 million), I could go on.

One sensible member of the public made the point that we don’t want buses lurking in Ealing town centre, we want them to pass through and spend their lurking time elsewhere.

This idea really is the most fantastical that SEC are pursuing. I am not complacent about the quality or usability of what is provided at Ealing Broadway station. I have been using it myself since 1987. It is just dishonest though to be promoting a set of ideas that have no hope of going anywhere. There are lots of small things that can be done to improve Ealing Broadway Station. The ITI is not the answer.

Of course one reason that SEC are pursuing this notion, however impractical it is in the current financial climate or any near future climate, is because they think it is an unbearable burden to load up on to any scheme proposed on the Arcadia site. Remember what the planning inspector said about this:

I fully appreciate the desirability of adopting an integrated approach to development and transport planning, and national policy encourages that approach. Nevertheless I do not consider that it would be appropriate, or reasonable, to inhibit or delay a development of the appeal site which was desirable in other respects, provided the development itself would not prejudice the achievement of these objectives.

In other words the Arcadia site shouldn’t get in the way of better transport but it can’t reasonably be expected to provide it.

10 replies on “Integrated transport interchange”

Gosh, this has got you excited also.

The ITI is needed. That’s what the residents are saying.

It’s your job to find a way to fund it and build it.

Otherwise step down and let some other ‘Can Do’ folks get on with the job.

There is an interesting comparison with Birmingham New Street station. Despite Birmingham being the UK’s second largest city, the number of passengers entering and leaving Birmingham New Street station is only just over twice the numbers entering and leaving Ealing Broadway station. Birmingham New Street and its environs are to get a £600M rebuild http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/6237.aspx, over half of this cost being public money. By comparison, the only thing yet planned for Ealing Broadway is a relatively minimalist upgrade of the station to meet the needs of Crossrail. There are no plans at all for how the extra people will get to and from the station. Neither are there any plans to make any other use of the station site.

The opportunity for Ealing is to explore the options around the station and to vigorously pursue the many potential sources of funding, both public and private. I am pleased to see that David Millican (Ealing Council cabinet member for Regeneration and Transport) appears to be of this opinion.

Richard,

I think you make my point for me. Transport projects get hugely expensive for the simple reason that they have to be custom built and engineered to very high safety standards. The £600 million bill for a station twice the capacity of Ealing Broadway implies £300 million for Ealing Broadway for a high spec, all singing, all dancing transport solution. You would need 30 Arcadias to fund this from Section 106 (assuming you easnted to do nothing else). This is the councils’ entire capital budget for six years in an area where the council has no statutory duty unlike schools building for instance. This is the running cost of Ealing hospital for three years. Even a third of this sum will not be available in the forseeable future. Not even a sixth. Anyone suggesting it is a goer in the short to medium term is fit only for the funny farm.

Phil

So then, have your people instead looked at the very long term and done costings?

In ballparks why do long term figures not add up under any circumstances – in your opinion?

Please discuss.

As I read your quote from the Inspector “provided the development itself would not prejudice the achievement of these objectives.” he is saying an ITL needs to worked out and then the development goes ahead. You cannot build an Arcadia, and then someone says the ITL design is prejudiced because someone did not take some key design feature or fact into account. Look what happened with the Olympic site.

Thanks

George,

The strategic transport authority for London is called Transport for London. The council has a role in making sure that TfL knows what our needs are. Hence the Crossrail specialist scrutiny panel. Hence Cllr Millican and myself meeting with Peter Hendy, the chairman of Crossrail, etc.

You are twisting the inspector’s words beyond what the English language can bear. I suspect he chose his words carefully and you cannot infer what you do.

Phil
While you may disagree, you won the Council on the no tram vote. You have saved apparently about £40 M since you came in (but gladly the Scrutiny person was saved). You talk in your opening post about cost of around £50M for ITI. You say if we had had perhaps 10 Arcadias then perhaps you (meaning the Council?) could perhaps fund the development. And then later to spoil it all, you say the authority is TFL.

So being a layman I am confused yet again. If theoretically Ealing had this money, would you have the powers to negotiate getting it built? Yeah or Nay?
Thanks

BTW, if Ealing were a city it would rank as the 14th largest in the UK. Birmingham’s population is just over three times the population of Ealing.

Many will draw the same inference as George.

It’s very late in the day, and late in his Transport and Regeneration portfolio career for Councillor Millican to pick up the integrated transport hub torch. Is it merely a coincidence that we are but 10 weeks away from Council elections?

No George it isn’t appropriate for the council to take on this responsibility. It is not our job, it is TFL’s. Our jobs are schools, protecitng the vulnerable, keeping the place clean, etc.

George/Eric
You are not paying attention. This is for TFL to do and pay for. How would we explain to vulnerable elderley or vulnerable young residents in ealing, that we can’t pay for their care because we spent £50m on Ealing broadway station when TFL should have paid the bill

How would we explain to parents in ‘ealing that they have to drive to another borough to find a school place for their child because we had no money to expand schools local to them because we spent it on a transport hub that TFL should have paid for.

This is not our job to pay for. We have enough to pay for without taking this on too. Would you pay for your neighbours to extend their house. Of course you wouldn’t especially if you had a hundred and one things to pay for yourself

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