Concerned traders and homeowners fear destruction of Dalston Victorian street in Crossrail 2 scheme
PUBLISHED: 07:30 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:24 18 February 2016
Families and shops accused Crossrail 2 bosses of "blighting" their lives at a heated public meeting about the future of the enormous rail project.
But officials appeared to offer an olive branch, saying alternative plans that could save their street were for the first time being explored.
People who live and work in Bradbury Street, Dalston, have been told their homes and businesses could be destroyed to make way for the front of a new station, but say they still do not know when or if the street will be knocked down.
And at Friday’s meeting above Dalston Jazz Bar, the company formally apologised for the lack of communication – but was still unable to give firm answers.
Crossrail 2 scheme manager Isabelle Adams and local consultation and engagement manager Gary Webb fielded angry questions about their plans for the back street that leads off Kingsland Road.
Sophie Darlington, who lives in Bradbury Street, told them: “You have blighted us since the day we received the letter [about the proposal]. The lack of communication and the way you have treated us has been shocking.
“You need to let us know what is going on as soon as possible. We cannot wait another year to find out – it’s completely unfair.
“We have had to endure huge amounts of anxiety and fear.”
She pleaded: “We need to know what is going to happen so can get on with our lives.”
Mr Webb apologised to the room and anyone connected to Bradbury Street.
“I am sorry for how it has been handled,” he told the meeting. “It’s completely understandable how you feel. We have to get better at communicating with you.
“As we move on, we will get better. We do need to build up the awareness and make sure people who are interested come to meetings and get to know what is going on.”
Crossrail 2 is a proposed new railway that would serve London and the wider South East.
Proponents of the project claim the service would provide capacity for up to 270,000 more peak-time passengers travelling into London, relieving the burden on the capital’s crammed commuter trains.
Campaigners have accused TfL and Crossrail 2 management of targeting Bradbury Street as its mainly independent shops were a “soft target”.
They urged TfL to consider Kingsland Shopping Centre as an alternative site for the new station entrance – particularly because it is already scheduled for redevelopment.
Mr Webb and Mrs Adams did give some positive news, confirming both parties would “seriously consider” Kingsland Shopping Centre as a potential spot for the ticket hall and revealing discussions with the owners are under way.
Mrs Adams attempted to reassure the room by explaining how the construction of Crossrail 1 had helped their decision-making.
“We have gained a lot of experience from the Crossrail 1 project,” she said, “and we are building on that and finding ways to produce less noise, less dust and less vibrations.
“There will obviously be some disruption but we are looking at measures already to minimise that.
“For example, we have looked at how we can take earth away via tunnels. We are actively looking at ways to mitigate the impact.”
Residents in the meeting claimed the project was being “built for the rich”, saying even if Bradbury Street were
left standing the project would encourage more developers to the area, spelling the end for one of the last remaining Victorian shopping streets in the capital.
Mrs Adams refuted the claims, saying Crossrail 2 would help workers who could not afford to live in central London.
“Crossrail 2 might not be what you want to see in Dalston,” she admitted, “but London needs more capacity for housing.”
When grilled on what would happen should homes be destroyed, Mrs Adams told the room that anyone affected would be “fully compensated”.
Michele Dix, TfL’s managing director for Crossrail 2, says ways to minimise the impact of the project continue to be looked at.
“At Dalston it is important that Crossrail 2 interchanges with both Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction London Overground stations,” she added.
“We have tried to find sites that minimise the local impacts of our proposals whilst enabling us to build the scheme.
“We continue to analyse the results from the consultation and listen to feedback and this includes looking at alternatives including a potential site using part of the Kingsland Shopping Centre. We will continue to work closely with the London Borough of Hackney as our plans progress.”