The Original Intention of a Major Interchange Station has been ditched but study outlines a range of local transport improvements for the area.

When the Chiswick Business Park development was in the planning stage it was originally envisaged that a new interchange station would be built which would link the mainline track with the tube lines that pass by the perimeter of the development.

  As the largest office development in the UK since Canary Wharf this was felt to be necessary to ease the pressure on the existing creaking transport infrastructure in the area. To this end the developers, as a condition of being granted planning permission, funded a trust called the New Station Trust which was to initiate the planning process for the new station. This was to have been sited on Bollo Lane.

As this has not proved possible provision was made for an Alternative Transport Trust whose brief was to look at 'similar' projects.

This Trust would be funded by up to £16mn, the money being paid by the developer Stanhope as a condition of being granted planning permission.

A study was commissioned into how this money should be spent and the principal recommendations are as follows:

  • A footbridge to be built linking Chiswick Park station to the site
  • A broad upgrade of Gunnersbury station
  • A new North London Line station with a pedestrian link to Chiswick Park
  • A bus corridor to be developed between Bollo Lane and Chiswick High Road
  • Extending the routes of the 27 and 94 buses to finish closer to the site.
  • Improved bus links between Acton Town station and the site and an improved interface between buses and the tube at the station

The report describes the area as already well-served by public transport with 5 railway lines and eight bus routes nearby.

There will be limited parking at the development and it is expected that 75% of the employees at the Park will use public transport or walk/cycle to work. This will generate an extra 2,300 peak hour journeys which will "significantly enlarge the local market for public transport services."

Options for the site are limited by the existing railway lines and the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature reserve.

The Footbridge

A high quality footbridge is suggested between Chiswick Park tube and Colonial Drive which will cut walking time to the development significantly. This would also be built to accommodate cyclists.

Gunnersbury Station

It is acknowledged that the station is likely to have "capacity issues" as a result of the development. This station will be upgraded extensively although architectural studies are required first.

North London Line

Given capacity constraints at Willesden junction there can only be a limited increase in the frequency on the North London line. The trust is unlikely to fund any improvements in this service.

An interchange between the North London Line and Chiswick Park was considered but it was felt the extra usage would not justify the cost.

A new station is suggested further south between Bollo Lane and Gunnersbury station.

Bus Routes

A broad consultation is to be made on bus route improvements. The development will allow a corridor between Bollo Lane and Chiswick High Road which will facilitate routes moving north to south as opposed to the tendency for most exiting routes to travel east-west.

Cost of Planned Projects

The total cost of the proposed capital works is £4-4.5 million with £1 million of that to be spent on "pump-priming" the new bus services. It is not made clear but presumably further projects will be considered as the development proceeds. The total amount of money to be paid by Stanhope remains to be finalised and will depend on the progress of future phases of the project.

The Piccadilly Line and Chiswick Business Park

  Although Piccadilly line passes right by the development (see picture) it seems unlikely that there will be a station within easy reach. The study recommended against an interchange station in part because of London Underground's objection to an extra stop between Acton Town and Hammersmith. The closest Piccadilly line station to the development will be Acton Town. The plan is to upgrade the bus links between the site and the station. However the journey would mean passing over two level crossings. The report says that priority on the crossing may need to be reconsidered.

With an interchange station ruled our and as it would be uneconomical to upgrade Chiswick Park station to take Piccadilly line trains because of the track and platform layout, Turnham Green would have been the better option for linking the Piccadilly line to the development. Although it is about 1km from Chiswick Business Park regular bus connections particularly when the routes of the 27 and 94 are extended would have made it a better option than Acton Town. However, London Underground's recent statement that a Piccadilly line stop would not be considered for a least a decade suggests that this link has been ruled out.

What Happens Next?

A report on the study by Hounslow's Director of Environmental Services will be presented to the Chiswick Area Committee. The meeting will be open to the public and it takes place at the Town Hall on Monday 26th March 2001 at 7.30pm.

The Area Committee is only able to comment on the study's recommendations and does not have the power of veto over the plans. A local public consultation exercise it to be organised as soon as possible and the response will be reported to the area committee.