Gunnersbury Station Improvement Plan 'Inadequate'

Local group disappointed by lack of access from Wellesley Road

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West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society

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A residents' group has criticised plans to improve congestion at the Gunnersbury station as being inadequate, and say they are disappointed that Network Rail has refused to consider their idea of platform access onto Wellesley road.

The owners of the station, Network Rail, stated in a letter to a recent meeting of Hounslow Council Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) on January 19th , that access to the station by new entrance would not be possible for technical and financial reasons.

The meeting approved proposals to improve access, signage, and appearance, to the station but but the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society (WCGS) say the changes do not go far enough to relieve the serious congestion problem which centres around a narrow staircase leading to the train platforms.

The proposals which were approved by the councillors will, they say, marginally improve the use of the station for those arriving and leaving their trains but not those trying to enter the station to catch trains.

"The situation is already bad and will worsen as demand from the Chiswick Business Park and other office developments increase” according to a statement from the WCGS.

The Society had made it clear in its oral presentation and written submission to the SDC that it believed that the proposed scheme met neither current nor future needs with respect to passenger access and safety as:

• it does not provide a station fit for purpose in 2012 and beyond

• the situation is already bad and will worsen as demand from the Chiswick Business Park and other office developments increases

• this will discourage use of public transport in this heavily congested part of the borough

“We reminded the SDC that we have been waiting for many years for an imaginative scheme that would significantly improve access and therefore passenger safety at this important public transport hub.

"Is the fact that the proposed changes will not make matters any worse — they apparently will not harm passenger safety”— satisfactory grounds for approving them?” said the statement.

The several advantages of a ramp or stairway at this end of the platform had been detailed in a written submission. Such a ramp or staircase would:

• allow residents access to and from the platform in peak periods

• minimise conflict between those entering and leaving the station (stair rage)

• provide an alternative means of platform exit in an emergency

• prevent passengers being forced to remain on the platform during a fire in the station or the 17-storey building above it

• if a ramp, improve access for disabled people and those with young children and luggage

• be easier and less expensive than a lift

A statement from the group continues;

"We are seriously disappointed by this outcome on behalf of all who use Gunnersbury station, but especially local residents. Clearly the Society does not object to the improvement to access, signage and appearance of the station now approved; we welcome any change for the better.

"We are also pleased to note that the enclosed waiting room will be retained on the platform.

"However, we maintain our view that these improvements are quite inadequate to address both the current and expected future access/safety issues resulting from the significantly increased passenger numbers from the Chiswick Business Park and other developments in this area. "

February 4, 2012