UPDATE: ‘Flawed’ consultation into south eastern rail is slammed by MP as housing figures ‘too low’
PUBLISHED: 15:24 29 March 2017
The incorrect figures have not been amended thus far
A consultation on the future of the south eastern rail network has been branded ‘flawed’ by Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce.
The Department for Transport consultation is taking place as the government takes applications to take over the south eastern rail franchise in December 2018.
But the Transport under-secretary has admitted housing figures in the consultation are ‘too low’ in a letter to Ms Pearce, who raised the issue.
The consultation refers to 36,000 new homes expected within the franchise’s area in south east London.
But in a letter to the Labour MP, Paul Maynard admitted the figure was closer to 68,400.
“We all know the historic issues of delays, overcrowding and cancellations on the current Southeastern service, which is why it was so shocking that in 2014 the government renewed their contract, to the ire of commuters and rail users across the south-east,” said Ms Pearce.
“Since then these problems have continued, and with the contract due to end in 2018, there is an opportunity to bring the service up to scratch.
“Sadly this flawed consultation on the future of the service is based on incorrect information and massively underestimates the number of new homes to come in the local area and the number of people who will be using the service in the future. Failing to assess the service level needed accurately will only exacerbate the problems and leave rail users paying more and more for less and less.
“I am not confident that the future demand for rail services in south east London is being fully considered and consulted on, and if they have made mistakes on this, what else have they made mistakes on?”
A DfT spokesperson said: ““An administrative error was made in our recent South Eastern consultation document. It has since been corrected.”