After a long delay, TfL have released their business case for reopening Camberwell station, and the verdict is:
A reinstated National Rail station at Camberwell would deliver local benefits but in overall terms would not be a good use of public funds at this time.
So that’s a no.
It seems that, despite being the best option of all proposed transport changes (including an enhanced bus service, better walking and cycling options, and a tram), the scheme would benefit Camberwell but not enough to justify the cost.
The decision would appear to hinge largely on: 1) that proposed redevelopment around the area wouldn’t bring enough new housing; and 2) the negative impact of an extra stop on the journey times of commuters to and from Kent. To which I would reply: 1) what about all the new homes that are currently being / have already been built around the Green; and 2) who cares?
Local politicians who campaigned for the station reopening are obviously disappointed. Harriet Harman MP said:
Deeply disappointed TfL not planning to reopen Camberwell Station! No tube, packed buses and very dangerous overcrowding at Denmark Hill & Nunhead stations. Solution urgently needed before an accident happens.Harriet Harman MP
The point about overcrowding at Denmark Hill is very salient; with no solution expected until April of next year at the very earliest (and even that date has no degree of certainty), and recent news of reduced bus services, our transport links are worsening.
Councillor Kieron Williams picked up on this:
Very disappointing news, Camberwell needs better transport, rail has to be part of long-term answer, as a council we will continue to work with local residents, hospitals, businesses, SE5 Forum to make that case.Councillor Kieron Williams
One possible cause for hope is that the business case notably excludes the local hospitals, King’s and Maudsley, who employ thousands and help many, many more. Perhaps this could be used to persuade TfL to take a second look, and that’s certainly reflected in the reactions of Helen Hayes MP and Councillor Johnson Situ:
It is very disappointing that the business case does not appear to have given any weight to the critical transport issues facing staff at Kings and the Maudsley. This is a serious flaw in the government’s methodology which means that the business case for Camberwell Station must be reconsidered.Helen Hayes MP
We firmly believe that including the use of the station by hospital visitors would make a significant difference to the outcome of the business model, and it should be reviewed.Councillor Johnson Situ
What this means for Camberwell in terms of Southwark’s area vision is yet to be known; a large part of the regeneration of the area around Station Road seemed to be contingent upon the reopening of the station. Hopefully we can get some clarity on that, and even more hopefully perhaps the business case can be reassessed with our local hospitals and healthcare services in mind.
You can read more about this story on the website of the Southwark Community Action Network, who’ve been active in this campaign since the start.