A MAJOR depot to house and repair longer trains as part of a Thameslink improvement programme could be built in Hornsey without the need for planning approval.
The site, off Hampden Road, has been earmarked not only because is it large enough to accommodate the structure, rumoured to be 250 metres long and 13 metres high, but because the land is already
owned by Network Rail.
It means the company has permitted development rights and has the option to by-pass normal Haringey Council planning procedures if necessary
but Network Rail confirmed the two organisations had been working together.
The work is part of the £5.5 billion Thameslink Programme funded by Department of Transport to improve railways and introduce longer and more modern trains.
It is hoped the depot, one of just two hubs covering all trains in the South West, will be up and running by 2012 with construction taking 18 months to complete.
Haringey Council leader Claire Kober said: “Haringey will oppose this proposal as vigorously as possible, and we are working with the GLA and the London Development Agency to get an urgent meeting
with Thameslink. It is absolutely untrue to suggest we had any detailed prior knowledge of this plan. It is not a suitable proposal for this location.”
Hornsey ward councillor Robert Gorrie, and leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats, said: “It is very early days yet, but there’s no doubt it will have an impact on the area.
“What is worth knowing is how long the council has known about it, and if so, why there has not been more communication about it.”
Network Rail has given assurances that the work would take neighbours into consideration.
An environment impact assessment covering noise pollution and air quality has been undertaken and recommendations such as new trees will be factored into the design, it said.
But the build could have ramifications for the council’s Haringey Heartlands development touted as one of the biggest regeneration projects in its history.
The project includes new homes, shops, a public square and a secondary school.
Construction and staff to run the 24-hour depot when it opens would create more than 250 new jobs for Haringey and could boost trade in businesses in the surrounding area.
The depot will be located at the northern end of the existing Coronation sidings and will include equipment such as a train washer, sidings where trains are ‘put to bed’ and an electricity
New sidings, an underframe cleaning facility and a second train washer will be located at the southern end near the existing train depot which will remain. The work would also mean a widening of
both bridges over Turnpike Lane and New River.
A public exhibition will be held tonight between 4pm and 8pm at the West Indian Cultural Centre in Clarendon Road.