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Thameslink / Borough Market - is destruction really necessary?

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Sunday 26 July 2009 6.17pm
I've just found this alternative Thameslink 2000 diagram -

It seems to involve improving the bridge over borough high street so they can put another track down the middle of it, and only need one track to go down a new overhead route.

It doesn't seem to destroy anywhere near as much of borough market and those nice buildings at the front.

Does anyone know why they didn't go with this alternative? Are they just being destructive for the sake of it?
Monday 27 July 2009 9.34am
Greendragon wrote:
Does anyone know why they didn't go with this alternative? Are they just being destructive for the sake of it?
Of course they are. By putting all of this needless demolision down to the Thameslink 2000 project, they can get rid of all of the buildings they want to. Doubtless they will in due course build newer (and uglier), more expensive which they will then flog on for a massive profit, all in the name of 'regeneration' (both of the Thameslink line and, supposedly of the area). That's my view anyway...
Monday 27 July 2009 1.50pm
However unsatisfactory the destruction of part of the market roof and many adjacent buildings appears, I am not quite sure who the 'they' are that you accuse of using the viaduct project as an excuse to demolish those buildings that 'they' don't want, apparently only in order to build newer ones for profit. Are you referring to Network Rail as the sole 'guilty' party?

You can discover some of the facts (and fictions) as represented by the different sides of the Thameslink story by reading threads on this website (just search for Thameslink and/ or Borough Market). You can also see the proposals for replacement buildings through the links.
Monday 27 July 2009 2.50pm
I am aware of the facts of this 'project', having loosely followed it for some time. On the whole, the 'replacement buildings' are wholly unsatisfactory, especially bearing in mind we are talking about the demolision of local historical landmarks. These replacement buildings will be a poor replacement for buildings such as the Wheatsheaf public house, et al.

Whatever way it is dressed up, Network Rail stand to make some form of profit from this development.

As for glass roofs, who wants one of those? We just want the Borough Market as it is currently. True, the benefits of the Thameslink will be significant, but surely not significant enough to warrant such a high level of reconfiguration? Perhaps I'm just being belligerent and the only one concerned by the way this project has eventually been imposed - public inquiries, etc. stand for nothing if the views of the local people aren't properly taken on board.

I am sure you will let know if my understanding is in any way incorrect.
Monday 27 July 2009 3.29pm
The Wheatsheaf is not being 'replaced' - the top floor of it is disappearing as the viaduct slices through. However, it remains to be seen if the existing building underneath will withstand such an onslaught and survive in its modified form.

There is nothing wrong with glass roofs as such, but the visuals of the replacement structures on the market territory suggest they will be predictably functional, and the 'interesting' bit will be seeing how the market management re-populate these structures - i.e what type of businesses at what inflated rents etc. The real life of such buildings depends on how useful and attractive the businesses are to people (other than tourists!). I fear it will end up similar to the sanitised blandness as currently epitomised by Spitalfields.

The benefits of Thameslink are debatable, and there have been strong cases made over the years for alternatives to the proposed link. All that is certain is that some aspects of the project are predictably behind schedule so we will have to wait rather longer than expected to decide the full extent of the impact on the high Street and the market.
Monday 27 July 2009 4.03pm
I think my second post may have been misinterpreted - I meant that whatever building replaces - not a replacement for the Wheatsheaf.

However, I agree entirely with your analysis of the situation. Let's hope that the market trustees don't use it as an excuse to charge highly inflated rents. However, there was some mention in the Southwark News a few months back that the trustees had already sought to unilaterally raise one tenant's rent quite considerably.

That said, with regard to the market as a whole (not the structural buildings but the market community), I do think that one has to take a pragmatic approach; after all in this day and age markets are not as popular as they once where and indeed I reckon if you look at the market tenants now in comparison with, say, 15 years ago (when I was a kid), there are probably not as many greengrocers or traditional fruit and veg people there. I think the Borough Market as it currently stands has created a niche and if that means the market can continue in some form then that has to be good news. My real problem is with the physical structure being altered beyond recongition.
Sunday 2 August 2009 5.03pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
Whatever way it is dressed up, Network Rail stand to make some form of profit from this development.

I am sure you will let know if my understanding is in any way incorrect.

OK, Gavin. I think you are incorrect - Network Rail is a not for profit company, and all "profit" is ploughed back into the rail network as enhancements. Moreover, the Thameslink project is a government initiative which is to enhance the network for the benefit of the majority. London Bridge is a notorious choke point which inhibits services into London for many thousands of people each day, and as the lines operate at 100% capacity, ANY problem causes delays which everyone complains about.

Given that we live in a society where people commute to work, what do people want? It has been decided to do something about this and Network Rail are the implementers of the decision, not the beneficiaries.

Yes, I work for Network Rail and such incorrect views are really annoying!
Sunday 2 August 2009 6.51pm
> "...such incorrect views..."

an oxymoron?
Monday 3 August 2009 8.51am
Possel - thank you for taking the time to respond to my views. However, as I think RobO has succintly pointed out, my views are just that (as opposed to being fact) and so to say they are 'incorrect' is something of a contradiction in terms.

My 'views' or approach to this matter are on the basis that I am an SE1 resident. Whilst I appreciate it a major transport hub, etc., as an SE1 resident I cycle to work or, worst ways, get the bus or the Tube.

This project does nothing to enhance the lives of people who live in SE1; to the contrary, it has the effect of obliterating local historic landmarks.

Perhaps, Possel, you could also point me to where, LOCALLY, the 'profit' will be ploughed back into?
Monday 3 August 2009 10.03am
Let's just hope the new Trustees care more about the food quality, the locals in SE1 and thus the buildings etc. Let's also hope they stop attrtacting tourists and move the emphasis away from a fast food fiesta and bragging bonanza for those who count the free tastings as lunch.
I am confident that their blind greed in rent increases resulted in the loss of some of the original suppliers and reasons why BM exited in the first place AND has been isntrumental in increaseing the fast food aspect. Stall holders need to sell eat now food to be able to pay their rents.
I guess a Tesco Metro and M&S food will be next. Yeeccchhh!
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