Over Christmas (yes, I know!) there has been a consultation running on the plans for the Crossrail station at Ealing Broadway. In an exercise of appalling expectation management these plans are two years late and are now presented as a fait accompli. The Crossrail Act 2008 effectively makes Crossrail its own planning authority so the current exercise doesnâ€™t really have teeth I am afraid.
In theory the consultation closes today but the council will still record peopleâ€™s comments and they will be included in the report that is considered by the planning committee in the next few weeks.
Local Conservatives very much welcome that the Government has pressed ahead with the Crossrail scheme in spite of harsh economic conditions. Now it is up to our local Council to make the most of it. In a number of ways the scheme now proposed by Crossrail for Ealing Broadway station is not good enough.
On the positive side the scheme provides twice as much space in its concourse as the existing station and will provide step free access from the street down to the platforms via lifts, primarily for the use of mobility impaired passengers.
On the negative side there will no escalators, as originally envisaged, so most people will still be using stairs to get down to the platforms unless they want to wait some time for the lifts. Also the new eastern access proposed for emergency purposes will not be available for day-to-day use which will be a lost opportunity for many Ealing residents who approach the station from the south east on foot.
This proposal does not specifically show us how the new station forecourt at Ealing Broadway will be laid out. In particular many residents will be keen to see how facilities for cars to drop off passengers are provided. It is appropriate to prioritise pedestrians and bus passengers immediately adjacent to the station entrance. It is not appropriate to banish people who are dropped by cars.
The thing that Ealing residents will notice most is the stark entrance proposed to the building. The modern, upward tilting canopy bears no relation to its surroundings. It may well succeed in signposting the Crossrail station and but it will devalue Ealingâ€™s town centre.
To me the proposed canopy sticks out like a sore thumb. Ealing town centreâ€™s predominantly Edwardian architecture and Haven Green require a more sympathetic solution. The station should welcome people to Ealing rather screaming â€œCROSSRAILâ€ at the top of its voice across Haven Green.