Kings Cross access: stormin’ Norman vs stonewall Winterton

I’ve blogged before about the campaign to get better – or rather any! – access to Kings Cross station from the Islington side, once the station redevelopment is complete.

At present, Network Rail will close the existing Wharfdale Road and York Way entrances to Kings Cross, without any replacement. Camden Council imposed a planning condition that Network Rail at least look at the feasibility of an access bridge, but the only options they considered were the unfeasible ones.

It’s incredibly frustrating for the local community. The very regeneration scheme that was supposed to open up new opportunities for residents in one of Islington’s most deprived corners will instead make them more cut off than before. Yet a bridge would cost less than 2% of Network Rail’s total budget for the scheme.

Campaigning Lib Dem MP Norman Baker has taken up our cause, and tabled this Parliamentary Question:

Norman Baker (Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Transport; Lewes, Liberal Democrat) asked the Secretary of State for Transport if her Department would “make an assessment of the effects on (a) the local community and (b) regeneration in the King’s Cross area of Network Rail’s plans to close permanently pedestrian access routes to King’s Cross and St Pancras rail stations from the north-east of the station complex; and if she will make a statement”.

And the reply?

Rosie Winterton (Minister of State, Department for Transport; Doncaster Central, Labour) replied that “Network Rail applied for and received planning consent from the local planning authority (London borough of Camden) for the redevelopment of King’s Cross station. Consultation was undertaken as part of this process, which resulted in Network Rail commissioning a study to consider ways to maintain access to the station from York Way. Network Rail has advised me that the study concluded that from an operational safety perspective the access to York Way in this location could not be maintained”.

That’ll be a no, then. So much for a listening Government.

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