Hackney Lib Dems have cautiously welcomed plans for a second cross-London rail line which will bring new connections and opportunities to the borough. However, campaigners are concerned that the latest version omits stations in Stoke Newington and Essex Road and threatens businesses in Dalston.
Crossrail 2 would mean Hackney at last has a direct rail connection to the West End. Our borough is famously without a tube station - only Manor House and Old Street are located right on the borders of our area - Crossrail 2 would dramatically improve transport for local residents and workers.
Alongside the economic and social benefits of the new line, Crossrail 2 is likely to attract people away from cars and buses and onto trains, reducing emissions from petrol and diesel engines. This will mean improved air quality in the borough and an overall reduction in Hackney's carbon footprint.
Hackney Lib Dems are concerned about how successive versions of the project have gradually lost branches and stations intended to serve our community. The original proposals for a "Chelsea-Hackney Line" included stations at Shoreditch Church, Hackney Central and Homerton as well as Dalston - up to seven different locations in fact - this version has completely lost its branch through Hackney and Homerton and proposes only one station in Hackney, at Dalston.
This new variation on Crossrail 2 no longer calls at Essex Road. A Crossrail station here would have been valuable for residents in De Beauvoir and Hoxton and we would like to see it reinstated.
Stoke Newington is seriously neglected by this proposal. Crossrail 2 as planned will call at Dalston, pass underneath the N16 area before calling at Seven Sisters. The bus routes between Stoke Newington and Dalston and also into central London are some of the busiest in London and there is no community of similar size in inner London that is without a direct rail route to the West End.
Hackney Liberal Democrats strongly support residents and local businesses calling for a Crossrail 2 station to be included in Stoke Newington.
There are serious concerns, especially in Dalston, that construction of Crossrail 2 could seriously damage the built and natural environment of the borough as well as local businesses. Of particular concern is the threat to Ridley Road Market and a number of heritage buildings along Kingsland High Street. We very much hope that when detailed plans are drawn up they can be developed with input from local residents and business owners with a view to preserving and enhancing what is already there.
Crossrail 2 is potentially a great project of much benefit to Hackney, but it will require careful vigilance from residents and the Council to ensure our borough reaps the maximum benefit.