A distingushed architect has warned that Crossrail stations including Ealing Broadway could ‘scar a community’ through poor design.
Lord Richard Rogers, the architect behind the Pompidou Centre in Paris and Heathrow’s Terminal 5, has criticised rail bosses after it emerged the design of some stations will not be reviewed by independent experts.
Design panel Cabe (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) has been employed since 2009 to scrutinise plans for stations in central London, but not for 27 stations – including Ealing – elsewhere on the line.
There is concern that without Cabe’s input, the multi-billion pound project is missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide world-class designs for those railway stations.
Mr Rogers said: “These stations should be treated in the same way as the early tube stations. These are important public buildings which millions will travel through. There has to be somebody who knows something about design looking at this.
“This is serious, because it [poor design] could scar a community that uses a station for a century or so. Of all the things that have influenced me, the greatest are the Victorian railway stations.”
Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council said: “We’ve been very rigorous all along in seeking improvements to the stations we’ve got. Design has been on the agenda but a body like Cabe, looking at things independently and adding rigorous standards, would be very welcome.”
Will French, former chair of Save Ealing Centre, said: “I don’t think there’s much hope for bringing Crossrail to account. I think the current design is going to be steamrollered through. People have been stating for about 30 years that the station is a mess and we have had passenger after passenger saying that it needs to be improved. Compared to some of the other stations, Ealing looks as if it is going to have a very shabby design which will look dated in a couple of years.”
Ealing Transport For All user Susan New, who is disabled, also criticised the current design. She said: “The canopy echoes the worst designs of the late sixties and early seventies. It is neither attractive, functional nor appropriate for a building adjacent to two conservation areas.
She added the lay-out falls short over its accessibility issues, specifically the lack of escalators and adequate step-free access.