Thameslink: All Change at Blackfriars?
As I am sure many of you living in South London are aware the future of our key Thameslink service, used by thousands of residents in Streatham and the surrounding constituencies, is under threat. The Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition Government have announced plans to terminate services at Blackfriars in 2016, meaning there will no longer be a direct connection with Kings Cross St Pancras and Luton Airport.
This vital lifeline is tremendously essential for the future of so many people’s lively hoods in South London. It is important to remember when reflecting over this thameslink issue why so many people choose to live in Streatham, Wimbledon, Sutton or Tooting. The obvious answer is the excellent connection to North London, within 30 minutes you can be at Kings Cross St Pancras getting on the Eurostar or wait a little longer and you can be at Luton Airport entering the terminal. Be that as it may, with the removal of this direct connection commuters will have to face a journey time up to double what it is at current. Therefore, in the interest of thousands of residents in South London and potential future dwellers, it is fundamental that we work to keep our city closely connected. Except, we don’t have long to work, in fact, in less than a week the consultation period from the Conservative/ LibDem Government will be over. And unless we raise more awareness about the issue and build support, we will lose and the Government plans will go ahead.
That is something that we cannot afford to happen, during these difficult economic times these services and those who use them ensure the survival of our local businesses. They are the blood flow of the South London economy, to sacrifice these services is to sacrifice potential growth in our local communities.
Recognising the importance of this city link, I organised a huge campaign morning in the Streatham constituency for Labour Party members. The objective, to explain to people the issue and gather support. The result was overwhelming, members flooded out to stations within the constituency and the response from commuters was clear, people both want and need their connection with the city, North London and Luton.
Aside from leafleting and speaking to commuters, I also filmed the morning and interviewed one of the local Labour councilors, Marcia Cameron on her thoughts on the issue. Below is the video of the morning of campaigns with the petitions below that.
The Government is currently going through a consultation period that will end on the 14th of September. It is so important that we stand up against these plans and now is our last chance to do it. We have less than 7 days to spread the word. Please sign these petitions and forward them to friends, colleagues and family to help save our Thameslink.
I think fighting this campaign and others like it is so important, not only because it is vital for constituents that we maintain our close connection with the city. But also it demonstrates to the public that we as a party are fighting the issues that mean most to them, that we are on the side of the people, to ensure the best possible outcome for the people.