Just sent this to Lord Adonis, Minister of State for Transport:
Further to your recent reply to Emily Thornberry regarding access to King’s Cross Station, your reference AA.l024758,l, I would like to take issue with you that funding for and construction of a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the tracks to the rear of the station is a local matter to be resolved by Camden and Islington councils. My grounds for this are threefold:
1. The growing strategic importance of the King’s Cross St Pancras transport hub makes this not only a cross- borough issue, not only a London issue but an issue of national importance. Building a nationally important transport hub without linking it into its geographical environment would be unforgivable.
2. Large construction projects where the boundary coincides with that of one planning authority and another are highly problematic. In this case, Camden has no voters to account to on this yet Islington has no power so cannot be accountable to the local voters and businesses whose lives and livelihoods will be affected. A third party needs to intervene to ensure that King’s Cross St Pancras is not allowed to turn its back on a sizable neighbouring community.
3. The principle of accessibility in any large construction project is easily lost and that is exactly what is happening here. The principle stems partly from good practice in equal opportunities, partly from a common sense notion of social justice and partly from the very concept of urban regeneration. Again, the cross-borough nature of the location has made it impossible to properly address this. That Network Rail is being allowed to single-handedly shut down all entrances to King’s Cross removing a centuries old east/west point of access mid-way across the tracks to the rear of the station is appalling. (See http://www.kingscrossaccess.com/2008/08/let-us-back-thr.html)
For these reasons I urge you to look again at this issue. The bridge being called for would be a quick, simple and highly affordable solution to the closure or gating of current entrances. For less than 1% of the station redevelopment budget (a tiny proportion of its contingency fund) the bridge could be built now as part of the current works. This would avoid future disruption and ensure the east/west route is made available as soon as possible after the current north-eastern entrance is closed.
My request is that you intervene with Network Rail. The excuse they give publicly for not building the bridge is that there is no direct business case for them to do so. For a quasi-public body to cite lack of profit to be made by replacing a public amenity they themselves are removing is surely scandalous.
I wrote to Network Rail raising detailed concerns on 7 October this year and am still awaiting their response. (see http://www.kingscrossaccess.com/2008/10/letter-to-netwo.html)
I look forward to your reply.