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Friday, 19 June 2015


Gillespie Robertson addresses Seriously Narked Residents and other anonymous posters.....

.......It would be appreciated if you would either publish some sort of evidence which would give the slightest credence to any claims of duplicity on our part, or else realise that such claims are entirely wrong. They are in fact wrong both in the motives  attributed to our campaign and in the publication and repetition of unfounded rumour and incorrect hearsay.  When you do realise this, we would be genuinely delighted if you would join us, and if you would kindly accept that our motives and actions are honest and honourable.

Any of those of us on stage on June 2nd. (and, to the best of our knowledge, most and probably all of our group’s supporters) who might in the past have expressed any kind of support for a station “further west than the Fire Station site” did so in the honest belief that many residents further west both needed and wanted better public transport.  Residents living near the Fire Station are within a short walk of both South Kensington and Sloane Square tube stations and are very well served already by multiple bus routes as well. Over the past year or two we have gradually, through Freedom of Information requests and through TfL’s own published material, appreciated how massive and intrusive and generally damaging a Crossrail mass-transit station, and all that this implies in terms of surrounding development, would be, anywhere in Chelsea. That fuller understanding of the implications is surely now shared by residents in both “east” and “west” Chelsea. The latter have our absolute sympathy, especially residents concerned about their homes being torn down.

We never have promoted and certainly would not now promote any site at all further west in Chelsea than the Fire Station site, let alone one involving demolition of existing homes. It was RBK&C, not residents,  who initially floated the concept of a site further west, and then said clearly this was their preference. It was TfL at RBK&C’s suggestion and with RBK&C’s support who indicated they were considering a site on or near Cremorne Estate, NOT ourselves.  We protested at RBK&C’s last-minute change of preference NOT because we were promoting a station anywhere at all, but because of the effect which RBKC’s change of position had on the responses to their own consultation. It was, as the LWN article stated,RBKC’s consultation which we criticised as fundamentally flawed. Their consultation in turn resulted in the results of the TfL consultation being effectively flawed too , in the sense that they gave a very misleading impression of residents’ true views. Anyone reading the full report on the TfL consultation on their website can clearly see the pattern of “tactical” voting, driven fundamentally, we believe, by fear both in SW10 and in SW3 of the negative effects of having a Crossrail station on one or the other of the  flip-flopping Council’s “preferred” sites.

We are NOT talking to our MP, nor to anyone else,  about other sites in ChelseaWe have however supported the idea that a site in Battersea, not in Chelsea, would save massive amounts of public money compared with diversion of the Crossrail2 line through Chelsea, and could also provide a much-needed public transport boost to all the new development around the Battersea Power Station.



  1. Crossrail 2 was originally called the “Chelsea/Hackney” line. At that stage the fire station site was identified and protected for the future venture. Times have changed with the wholesale redevelopment of the Battersea power station site. There should be no station in Chelsea; it should be at Battersea. Similarly, there should be no Crossrail station in the north of the borough either. That plan – to be funded by the reserves the Council has obtained by over-charging Council Tax payers for many, many years – is to enable the whole of that part of the borough to be developed into flats for sale to foreign by-to-leave investors. What we really need is a “No Crossrail in K+C” campaign, just like Dr. Taylor’s “No C in K+C” campaign, which united the borough and was successful. Public transport can be improved at the edge of the borough with a station at Chelsea Football Club on the West London line and a station at Westway Circus, beneath the Westway elevated road, on the West London line, which is what the residents of the north of the borough actually want. All else is pure froth.

    1. I am not sure TfL will agree to any station on the West London Line between the Imperial Wharf and West Brompton stations. The distance between the two just isn't that great. The only way I can see them agreeing to anything at Chelsea FC is if only operates on match-days instead of West Brompton. And even that is a long shot.

      The same applies to a station under the Westway. It'll be far too close to the station at Shepherd's Bush. The distance between between Shepherd's Bush and Willesden Junction is certainly large enough to accommodate a new station, but it will need to be be located much closer to the mid-point between the two, which would place it nearer North Pole Road, possibly somewhere along Latimer Road, but certainly north of the Westway.

  2. Are you proposing alternative sites again?

  3. They can't help themselves.

  4. Battersea has a choice of locations for opening or reopening stations, including near the old power station, using existing lines.
    Have the protesters visited these sites to ask Battersea residents where they want their station?

    Battersea Park Station is next to the old power station and served the stokers who stoked the boilers with coal.
    Do you want to give the developers 2 stations to help their estate agents sell the flats to absentee foreign investors?

    1. I am sure they have not consulted or informed Battersea residents.

      The not in my back yard syndrome is very much afoot...

    2. The existing lines are pretty much irrelevant. Crossrail 2, unlike Crossrail 1, is not intended to re-use any existing railway lines within central-ish London and an interchange with the existing stations isn't really required given that the next stations along in either direction would be Victoria and Clapham Junction, and passengers could change to normal rail services at either if they wanted to. As such you could locate the Crossrail 2 station in Battersea pretty much anywhere you liked. There's certainly quite a bit of brown-field to choose from around there.

  5. Crossrail 2 is a high-speed link across London. Are the Chelsea station objectors being dishonest when arguing that we have adequate transport from our existing slow London Underground.
    If you are going to accuse our Councillors of dissembling, the least you could do is try to be honest and tell the whole story in your objections.

  6. Dr Taylor did not break a promise to Nick P-B. Through the medium of Cllr Coleridge, who wrote to Boris, there was a public consultation to move the proposed Chelsea station to Cremorne. The Cremorne residents then made sure that was dead in the water. But the promise to try and move it was kept.

  7. I said it before (in the previous article) and I'll say it again, the TfL report does not back up your claim that anyone indulged in "tactical voting".

    What the TfL report does show is a far higher participation rate in SW10 (the western portions of Chelsea Rivervide and Stanley wards) than in SW3, or any other part of the borough for that matter. And that those in SW10 were predominantly inclined to vote for anything other than a station in "West Chelsea".

    If anyone wants to check this for themselves they can. The report is here:

    The section of the report related to the proposal for a station in Chelsea is section 6 (pages 31 to 43). Maps showing the approximate distribution of votes across K&C for each of the options are on pages 34 to 36. And for completeness TfL have included similar maps for the whole of London in Appendix E. Being a series of maps they are, by their very nature, imprecise.

    And what do they show? They show (in descending order):

    That the greatest number of votes in favour of a station at the Fire Station came from SW10. (No surprise there); and a not insignificant amount of support for it in SW3 as well.

    That the greatest number of votes in favour of no station at all came from SW10. (Again, no surprise there; and it should be noted many, many more than from SW3).

    That the greatest number of votes in favour of a station at "Chelsea West" also came from SW10 (although a significant number came from SW3 which suggests that all Chelsea residents tended to vote for what they considered to be the "least worst" option).

    In other words the maps show that the greatest number of votes came from SW10. Full stop. Precisely as stated previously.

    Now given that some of the residents of SW10 carried out a massive campaign to raise awareness of the TfL consultation within their local area at the time is this really much of a surprise?

    Whatever the case this does not render the TfL consultation in any way "inaccurate" or "invalid". TfL held four drop-in sessions, two in SW10 (in the Chelsea Theatre) and two in SW3 (in Chelsea Old Town Hall), over a period of a month. All four sessions were well advertised and all were very well attended, a fact TfL noted in their report - attendance rates at the four drop-in sessions in Chelsea were ten times higher than at any other consultation event in London.

    Persisting with the suggestion that there was any kind of "tactical voting" under these circumstances is misleading and dishonest. There wasn't any "tactical voting", there was simply A LOT MORE VOTING in SW10 than elsewhere and the SW10 campaigners can quite rightly pat themselves on the back for having achieved such a high participation rate amongst their neighbours.

    Personally I am less inclined to believe anything else you say when you are so clearly wiling to deceive people on what is, at the end of the day, a technical point whose veracity, or otherwise, is easy to verify. If you are willing to repeatedly try and mislead people about this what else are you happy to mislead them about?

    Perhaps about the depth of the tunnels, the effect on local property prices, the size of any development on the site or the number of people likely to disembark from the station? We don't really know, but perhaps we should put in our orders for mounds of salt now?

    1. The real problem is not the TfL consultation last summer, but rather the Council's consultation the year before.

      Not only do many residents claim never to have received consultation forms (although some do admit that they did, and filled them in and returned them) the conclusions the Council subsequently reached bore little or no resemblance to the data they collected. The data clearly said one thing, the Council concluded another. A good example of running a "consultation" merely to justify what you've already decided to do?

      The SW10 campaigners did a good job of taking them to task on that front:

    2. Interesting. Details on that page contradict statements made at the meeting at Chelsea Old Town Hall.

      Dr. Taylor claimed that only 32% of residents who participated in the Council's own consultation exercise supported a station at the Chelsea Fire Station, with the rest preferring a station elsewhere. This claim has been repeatedly quoted to the press and has featured in more than one newspaper story. But if the figures on that page are correct, 59% supported a station at Chelsea Fire Station.

      Someone is clearly not being entirely honest.

    3. Re: Lemon's final paragraph

      They also overstated the estimated costs by £200 million. TfL can save forking out for oil paintings on the walls and Persian rugs on the platforms.

  8. Seriously narked resident22 June 2015 at 16:08

    As the original "seriously narked resident" I have found Mr. Robertson's post and the subsequent comments extremely interesting.

    As has been touched upon by others I would suggest dropping any suggestions of "tactical voting" during the TfL consultation. Not only are such arguments very probably wrong (as per Lemon's post above) but they hint at the possibility that some residents may have acted "inappropriately", which is neither a true nor sensible suggestion to make if you want to secure wider support for your campaign.

    The same applies to his campaign group's press coverage to date. Some of what has been printed is potentially inflammatory, reeks of NIMBY-ism and is most certainly not conducive to securing the support of all of Chelsea's residents, rather than just a small clique in SW3.

    Despite this I am heartened by Mr. Robertson's words and look forward to seeing his group run this campaign in a manner befitting them. As a resident of SW10 I am perfectly happy and willing to support a campaign against the construction of a Crossrail 2 station in any part Chelsea IF those running the campaign don't give me reason not to. I suspect I am not the only one.

    1. Gillespie Robertson24 June 2015 at 11:10

      Thank you very much. We very much welcome constructive comments, even when critical, and would like to hear directly from you and others where and if you think we have gone wrong. Of course there may be good reasons why different people have different views on why a station in Chelsea woud be a big mistake, but where we have common ground, let's get together ! United we stand, divided we fall.

  9. Chelsea (United Nations Delegation)25 June 2015 at 16:35

    If you've got Melanie Hughes on board, who claims to be so well connected (not invited to MY dinner parties by the way) then you shall win


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