Mitcham Eastfields wins top transport award

Merton Council with partners Network Rail and rail operator Southern were presented with the prestigious Rail Station of the Year award at the London Transport Awards ceremony last week (17 March).

The coveted prize was presented by the BBC’s Jeremy Vine for the groundbreaking development of the first fully new suburban train station in south London since World War II. The ticket office is one of a new generation of modular, flexible and environmentally-sound stations and falls in line with Merton’s commitment to sustainable buildings and transport systems that reduce carbon emissions.

The station was recognised as having a positive impact on Mitcham town centre making it more accessible for business and residential opportunities. It has been operating since 3 June 2008 and by 31 January 2009 over 52,000 journeys had been made from the station – a 50% increase on the predicted average weekly journeys.

The council turned around the major planning application from submission to permission in 28 working days. Working effectively together Network Rail, Southern and the council completed the whole building process from planning to opening a fully working station in under a year. The Mitcham Eastfields project will provide a model for future new stations in London.

In another pioneering move, this is the first time that Transport for London has helped a council fund improvements to the surrounding area of a new station under its Area based schemes station access programme.

Merton Council welcomed to Merton last week deputy mayor for policy and planning Sir Simon Milton and deputy mayor for government and external relations Ian Clement. They were given a tour of the borough which included Mitcham Eastfields and the surrounding improvements the council is currently making to the area.

Merton Council cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Diane Neil Mills said: “The award is wonderful news and it was received with great honour. We recognise the importance of providing residents with a top quality transport network and the opening of Mitcham Eastfields station last year demonstrated our commitment to the town centre and the surrounding areas. Just 20 minutes from central London, Mitcham offers fantastic opportunities for residents and businesses. It was with great pride that we were able to show the deputy mayors the new station.’

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Notes to editors
1. Network Rail submitted the planning application of the 17 July 2007 and the first trains stopped on the 3 June 2008.
2. Part of Merton Council’s improvement programme for the town, the station is a result of over £6 million of investment by Network Rail and a successful partnership between Merton Council, Network Rail, Southern, First Capital Connect and Transport for London.
3. Until the development of Mitcham Eastfields, the nearest railway station was Mitcham Junction, over a mile from the town centre and in zone four. The new station is just an eight-minute walk from Mitcham town centre and is in zone three.
4. The station has been operating since 3 June 2008. By the 31 January 2009 over 52,000 journeys had been made from the station – a 50% increase in the predicted average weekly journeys (currently 1,400).
5. Transport Minister Tom Harris MP officially opened the station on the 17 July 2008.
6. The ticket office is made from recyclable material where possible. The building has been designed to keep energy use to a minimum. Solar energy harnessed by 48m2 of solar panels on the roof powers the lighting and other electrical appliances, reducing carbon emissions by 10%, and rainwater is collected in water butts and supplied to the public washrooms.
7. The 170m (eight coaches) long platforms were constructed in the traditional way, but the station building was constructed off-site and lifted into place in ready-constructed sections. This type of construction has allowed the station to be delivered in record time. It has also meant minimal disruption for railway passengers and residents in the surrounding area.
8. 3 June to January 2009 (approximately 35 weeks) Ticket receipts: £320,000; Journeys: 52,000; Average weekly journeys: 1,400.
9. The London Transport Awards, in association with Transport Times were judged by Transport Times publisher Professor David Begg, CEO of London Travel Watch Janet Cooke, director of transport, environment and planning at London Councils Nick Lester and Principal of Elsie Owusu architects and partner of Fielden & Mawson Elsie Owusu.