Lewisham station entrance stays closed as reopening cost put at £2 million by Southeastern

A closed entrance at Lewisham station will not reopen with the arrival of thousands of new homes as Southeastern and Network Rail listed a number of reasons to keep padlocks on.

A recent Lewisham Council meeting saw a question for Southeastern and Network Rail regarding access to the north of the station.

Previous entrance and exit closed in 2010s

One reason given from Southeastern in response to a question from Councillor Edison Huynh (Labour – Lewisham Central) to keep a previously open entrance and exit to Platform 4 now permanently closed was “due to the narrowness of the entrance”.

They then stated: “The only solution would be the purchase of land, to create space where a gateline could be installed, and as mentioned, planning consents (not assuming any decision either way) would be required.

“Based on previous experience, we estimate such a project would cost at least £2million, which would need to be funded by Network Rail and which is why we believe it would be unfeasible.”

Former entrance/exit seen on left

A large number of new homes are currently being built to the north of the station close to the former entrance including Lewisham’s tallest tower. However it appears little to no funding has been allocated.

The development from Mayer Homes on the former Tesco car park also includes a lower-rise element.

Beside Platform 4 at Lewisham station

Southeastern continued: “In the past there have been schemes (such as at Swanley station) where upgrade work has been undertaken with local authorities contributing substantially to funding”

That would normally be via Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income. Lewisham begun the process of updating CIL rates in 2019 then halted and have yet to resume.

“We have also made contributions in the past, however this year we have no budget for any station enhancement work on our network.”

Taken October 2023 from Platform 4 showing blocks under construction

Southeastern is entirely owned by the Department for Transport who have sought cuts thus it’s little surprise they will not help assist funding via the rail company.

Network Rail then commented: “We are not able to open this ramp to platform 4 at present as the gradient of the slope is not compliant with accessibility regulations (it is too steep).

Re-grading the ramp or installation of a lift would be required, which we are not currently funded to deliver”.

Housing

Many homes are either being built or planned to the north of the station which would benefit from reopening the entrance. Meyer Homes’ tower is the most visible but not the only development.

This image shows the outline of current development sites in red.

The site on the right is part of a redevelopment of two estates. Residents of both sites should begin to move in shortly. These phases total 443 homes and follow 782 recently built.

Then there’s the Tesco supermarket site with news earlier this year for plans to demolish with new housing on site above a new store.

Failing to reopen platform 4 follows another proposed entrance which was partly built but not finished at the base of recently built tower beside platform 1.

Recently completed Vita tower

The Vita towers included space at street level for a station linking to the Southeastern station and in future any Bakerloo line extension, but no funds were spent fitting it out.

Passenger numbers

The pandemic offered breathing space to the station which was creaking under the load up to 2020.

A one-way system ended up being implemented in 2019. It wasn’t just a lack of entrances causing congestion but narrow subways.

Lewisham station’s narrow subway (taken at midnight)

As passenger numbers recover and thousands of new homes complete around the station the risk returns of severe congestion and overcrowding leading to closures.

By failing to reopen the entrance/exit at Platform 4 or funding a link from to existing lifts for an entrance everyone is forced around the long way round to the existing entrance.

Closed entrance at platform 4 means walking round to enter station alongside those from these new builds

They’ll meet thousands more future passengers the other side of the tracks.

Work is currently underway on Lewisham Gateway Phase 2 as seen below to the left.

Lewisham Gateway visible on left

There’s also Silver Street nearing completion in Lewisham not too far from the station.

Silver Street viewed from Lewisham station car park – which itself will become housing

Beyond that we have the shopping centre redevelopment with consultation underway for at least 1,800 homes.

And proposals are still due on building at Lewisham retail park where L&Q gained permission for 535 homes in 2019.

Provision for future station included in recently built Vita tower but no link opened to railway station

That is not proceeding anytime soon but it’s inevitable work will eventually proceed.

Respite

There’s no doubt that without the pandemic and subsequent reduction in passengers post-2020 the station would be struggling with severe overcrowding.

Yet passenger numbers did drop which gave breathing space and ensures housing recently completed or due to finish in 2024 will see new passengers meet reduced – though growing again – numbers using the station.

Lewisham retail park near station has approved plans for 535 homes

The question now is will funding be found to open or reconstruct mothballed entrances before other major developments are built and passengers return to levels seen in 2019?

Without it, those scenes of crowding seen four years ago could return.

 

 

 

-----------------

Running a site takes much time and cost a lot of money. Adverts are far from enough to cover it and my rent.

You can support me and the running this site in a number of ways including Paypal here

Another option is via Patreon by clicking here

You can also buy me a beer/coffee at Ko-fi here

There's also a Facebook page for the site here

Many thanks

J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    10 thoughts on “Lewisham station entrance stays closed as reopening cost put at £2 million by Southeastern

    • Given such scale of development it does seem silly in the extreme that no organisation ranging from central government via DaFT/SE, Network Rail nor Lewisham Council will bang heads and stump up £2 million which in the grand scheme is hardly much money.

      If the existing ramp access cannot be reopened then what about access from lifts/stairs installed as part of the 1999 DLR project? The stairs and lift are modular with access space and it’s right beside the new tower. I was looking at stations like Brent Cross West opening last week with much investment and well staffed with gate-lines for future housing which is years off but on Southeastern there’s some stations in the midst of major development *right now* and no one can find even small sums to improve them.

      Reply
    • New entrance means new ticket gates meaning some funding required for staff. This government will not pay for that as it’s cuts all the way for Southeastern under their direction.

      Reply
      • Lewisham tensile Park was proposed by L&G (Legal & General) not L&Q.

        Reply
      • @BobG: a lot of stations are unstaffed and the gates just left open.

        Reply
    • The lack of vision, the lack of ambition of this government, is staggering (perhaps with the exception of deporting sterling to Rwanda).

      Reply
    • FFS why can’t we get the SIMPLEST thing DONE in this benighted country!!!

      Reply
    • “We are not able to open this ramp to platform 4 at present as the gradient of the slope is not compliant with accessibility regulations (it is too steep).”

      On first reading I thought this was reasonable. Then I realised that he’s essentially saying “because some people can’t physically use it, nobody can”. Which is pathetic.

      Reply
    • This is silly. They could open that entrance for very little money.

      It may be too steep for the wheeled population, but there is nothing to stop the ambulant population using it.

      No regulations require that all entrances be accessible, only that reasonable steps be taken to provide access. If access is already available via other means, nothing needs doing. If access is not already available via other means, opening a further inaccessible entrance would do nothing to worsen that. By alleviating congestion at other entry points and on staircases, opening can only help.

      No money needs to be set aside for ticket barriers or staff. Every other station on the network (except Abbey Wood, Dartford and central stations) gets by without ticket barriers and staff. All that is needed is a touch in/out machine

      Citing accessibility regulations as an excuse for inaction is despicable. It undermines public confidence in well-intentioned public measures that work as intended and do not provide barriers to action.

      Reply
    • “Narowness of the entrance”! Yet the bottle neck at the ticket gates coming off platform 4 isnt a problem.

      Reply
    • The development on the Tesco island site had provision for an exit at the foot of the platform 4 lift/stairwell, which Southeastern originally promised to open when the stairwell was being built and when applying to close the slope, but then reneged on doing. I believe the developers gave funding to build the exit but the railway station management chose to spend it on other works to the station instead. It’s all absolutely ridiculous and I’ve been campaigning for that new entrance (not reopening the flawed old one) for about a decade now with nothing to show for it!

      Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.