Berkeley Homes have recently been consulting on plans to increase the number of homes in the next phase of Kidbrooke Village.
As is common, masterplan outline numbers never stay at original levels and almost always get revised up. This time the number of homes for this stage of development increases from 1,004 to 1,297, which raises overall homes across the site to 5,261.
Consultation documents claim impact on transport will be negligible and Network Rail are planning improvements for 12-car trains:
Yet this site has previously covered the Kent Route study from Network Rail which plans for additional capacity in future years. The entire Kidbrooke line will see just four additional carriages by 2024. The same line also serves Lewisham and other areas of high growth:
Kidbrooke is on the Bexleyheath line meaning just five per cent increases in capacity by 2024. Four carriages at best will mean mean just two 10-carriage trains across the entire peak period becoming 12-carriages – and that requires new trains or alterations to existing stock.
It may even mean no additional stock is planned – as since 2014 a number of trains have cascaded from Southern to Southeastern.
It also states that almost 1,300 homes will see just seven more passengers per train in the busiest peak period. Is that reliable? It wouldn’t be the first time transport planning is wrong.
Kidbrooke is currently seeing a new station building constructed which is welcome, though without large capacity increases will count for little. Passenger volume is rising quicker than 1% per annum that a 5 % total capacity increase by 2024 provides. It’s currently running around 3-4 % a year with some areas seeing higher growth.
And then there’s the other side of the coin. A new franchise or devolution is needed to provide those extra carriages and investment to allow 12 car running across the board. With continual delays from the Department for Transport on the franchise’s future, investment and planning continues to be pushed back.
Oh, and TfL’s plan for over 619 homes the other side of the station looks set to be approved next week.
One improvement for the area is a new bus route from Kidbrooke to North Greenwich which connects with the tube. But upgrade plans for the Jubilee Line have also been scaled back with new train orders cancelled, and many will want to use the station on their doorstep rather than a bus through congested streets and a slower journey.