Consultation Extension Confirmed as MP tells Transport Sec of ‘Widespread Community Anger’

The Government is considering axing the “Wimbledon Loop” Thameslink service that connects Streatham and Tulse Hill in Mr Umunna’s constituency – along with stations in Sutton, Wimbledon, Streatham, Tooting, Mitcham and South Merton – to Luton and St Albans through Central and North London.

Mr Umunna wrote to the Transport Secretary, informing her that, whilst opposition to the possibility that Thameslink services from Streatham and Tulse Hill Stations may soon terminate at Blackfriars was widespread in the community he represents, ‘the possibility of service reduction…still appears too little known both within the local area and among users of Thameslink services.’

Mr Umunna wrote that there is ‘widespread anger in the community about what is perceived as the lack of publicity surrounding the consultation’ and that ’Given the consultation took place over the summer months and during the London Olympics, I hope you will give consideration to extending this consultation so as to give as many people as possible who may be affected by this change the ability to contribute to the consultation.’

Mr Umunna asked for clarification on remarks by the Head of Rail Franchising at the Department for Transport, in which the civil servant indicated that response to the consultation received after August 23 would still be taken into account as part of the consultation process. Mr Umunna wrote to confirm that this would ‘indeed be the case and also that responses received after August 23 will be given equal eight to those received prior to this date.’

Mr Umunna wrote that he supported an informal extension but also asked the Secretary of State to ‘formally extend the consultation as a consequence of the extraordinary impact that the Olympics would have had on the process.’ Mr Umunna asked the Secretary of State to ‘update the Department for Transport website page to make clear any change to the period during which consultation responses will be accepted.’

Mr Umunna asked the Secretary of State to meet with him ‘at the earlier opportunity…in light of the imminent culmination of the consultation process.’

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP said:

“I am incredibly pleased that the consultation period has now been extended. Far too many people who would suffer from this possible reduction in Thameslink services knew nothing about it until recently and many are still not aware.

“The fact that the consultation has now been extended gives us all a further opportunity to ensure that each and every section of the community creates as much pressure as possible so that Coalition Government Ministers have no excuse whatsoever for ignoring our transport needs.

“The LibDem/Conservative Government has been ignoring our community’s needs since they were elected, whether by their failure to ensure growth and jobs, trebling university tuition fees for our young people starting university this September or through their outrageous decision to cut police funding by 20%. I am absolutely clear that they cannot compound this failure by eroding our transport links. Getting better transport for Streatham and Tulse Hill should be a priority, not something the Government ignores.”