MP Quizzes TfL over New Station Repair

Says London Underground "have many more questions to answer"

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Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter is questioning Transport for London over the new round of repairs being carried out on Shepherd's Bush Central Line Station - and TfL's relationship with Westfield.

He says: " Many people - certainly the 7,000 who signed petitions and wrote to TfL - remember that Shepherd's Bush Central Line Station closed for most of 2008, causing huge disruption around the Green and delays to people’s daily commute.

" Back then, TfL insisted that the closure was necessary to get the work done properly, even though they had abandoned a £39 million plan to put in lifts (meaning that the station still does not have step-free access, rendering it virtually useless for mothers with pushchairs and disabled people) and kept silent about advice they had been given about how to do the work without closing the station.

" Just four years later, though, the ceiling in the station needs renovation and repair, costing at least half a million pounds. This is just further evidence that the real reason for the closure four years ago was simply Westfield’s demand that the station be ready for the opening of their shopping centre and nothing to do with engineering imperatives."

He says a Freedom of Information request found this week that "a commercial settlement with Westfield" means that the works will be done at "no cost to London Underground". However, the nature of the commercial settlement is not revealed.

" Thousands of my constituents suffered nearly a year of delays and disruption because London Underground danced to Westfield’s tune four years ago," he says. "They were outraged then to be given four weeks' notice of an eight month closure, and they will be outraged now that the job they suffered so much for was incompetently done and needs repairing so soon.

" This makes it clearer than ever that nothing mattered four years ago except getting the job done in time to coincide with the opening of Westfield.

" We said at the time that a properly planned solution should include lifts, and TfL's own engineers said that the job could have been done without closing the station. While I have no objection in principle to Westfield contributing to the transport system that brings them much of their trade, a commercial arrangement such as this needs to be open and above board – a public transport system should not be run at the beck and call of a private firm.

" London Underground have many more questions to answer about this; and I shall be asking them."


May 18, 2012