Row over plans to build Bakerloo line extension shaft in historic Southwark park

Tom Powell
Faraday Gardens: the shaft could be built on public basketball courts: Google Streetview

Plans to tear up public gardens in south east London to make way for a Bakerloo line ventilation shaft are being fought by local councillors and residents.

Campaigners in Walworth are lobbying Transport for London (TfL) not to construct a giant shaft in Faraday Gardens for the planned Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham.

The park, named after scientist Michael Faraday who lived in the area, is one of two options for the shaft proposed by TfL.

The other site is on the middle of the nearby Bricklayers Arms junction, which connects the Old Kent Road with Tower Bridge Road.

Labour councillor for Faraday ward, Paul William Fleming has launched a petition which states “a large part of Faraday Gardens may be dug up and turned into a building site, as well as having a permanent shaft on the current basketball pitches.”

Shaft: the proposed site for the new ventilation shaft in Faraday Gardens (Transport for London)

Cllr Fleming told the Standard: “It's in the middle of a residential estate, a conservation area at that. The main access is onto a newly designated cycle route on Portland St.

"It would mark years of disruption. It takes away a portion of a beautiful, well loved, much used and historic park.

"That's the biggest impact on the community: the loss of play courts for young people, and disruption to a green space used by all.

"It's even more disappointing when TfL are not planning a long overdue two spur Bakerloo line which also runs to Camberwell down the Walworth Rd."

Proposals: the alternative option for a shaft at Bricklayers Arms (Transport for London)

Opened in 1905, Faraday Gardens is now home to basketball and football courts, a playground and a variety of trees including Italian alders and wild cherries.

The Bakerloo line extension from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham is currently in its consultation stage.

Proposals include plans for two new stations on Old Kent Road, and two stops at current overground hubs in New Cross Gate and Lewisham.

Matthew Yates, TfL’s Head of Transport Planning and Projects, told the Standard: “Proposals for the shafts, which are a vital safety feature of the extension, are at a very early stage.

"This consultation provides the opportunity to give feedback on options and we would encourage local residents to visit our website, where we have a wide range of information, or to come along to one of our drop-in sessions, where our team is on hand to discuss our proposals.

“We will aim to make sure any shafts that are required impact the local area as little as possible. No final decisions have been made and we will carefully consider all responses.”

TfL predicts the Bakerloo line extension, due to be completed by 2030, will bring at least 25,000 new homes to the boroughs of Southward and Lewisham.

It plans to run a service every two to three minutes between Lewisham and central London.