Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler has joined to fight to stop a new £1 billion Crossrail 2 station being built in Chelsea.

The four-time Grammy award winning singer and guitarist said the money should be spent where it is really needed and “not in London’s richest borough”.

It comes a week after community group The Chelsea Society decided to withdraw its support of the project, which it had previously backed with caveats.

Mr Knopfler is now one of 6,000 people to join the No Crossrail in Chelsea campaign, and joins a long list of celebrities calling for the Transport for London (TfL) plan, which has the backing of Kensington and Chelsea Council , to be scrapped.

TfL revealed at the beginning of a public consultation running until January 8 that it plans to build the station on the corner of King’s Road and Sydney Street . It had been thought that TfL had earmarked Chelsea Fire Station as the site .

But the man behind Brothers in Arms album, whose songs include Money for Nothing and Walk of Life, said: “To spend eight years and £1.2 billion of public money building a new station in the heart of historic Chelsea is to make a huge mistake.

“Residents and businesses rightly say a scheme like this is neither wanted nor needed. Such a large sum of money should be spent on a part of our great city that really needs it, not in our richest borough.

“I am delighted to join the thousands of Chelsea locals in vehemently opposing the scheme.”

Campaigners claim that a TfL report suggests “overall public transport benefits” would be greater if there was no Chelsea station.

Mr Knopfler added: “Transport for London have already admitted that this is not the best option: that Crossrail 2 should run direct from Victoria to Clapham Junction.

"I can’t understand why they don’t appear to be heeding their own advice and scrapping these plans.”

He joins celebrities such as Felicity Kendal, Trevor Eve and Cherie Lunghi, Oscar winning director Sir Alan Parker, chef and TV host Loyd Grossman, celebrity lawyer Nancy Dell’Olio, former Chief Executive of WH Smith Sir Malcolm Field and recruitment tycoon Robert Walters in opposing the station plans.

The latest news comes after The Chelsea Society decided to withdraw its support for the station during its AGM at Chelsea Town Hall on November 23.

It was founded in 1927 and aims to protect and enhance the amenities of the area. The Society’s President is the broadcaster, John Simpson.

Chairman of the No Crossrail in Chelsea campaign, Chris Lenon, said: “The vote at Chelsea Town Hall on Monday night was conclusive. The historic Chelsea Society have lived up to their objectives as the custodians of the amenity and heritage of this great place and the membership have spoken in overwhelming numbers against this unwanted new station.”

Mr Lenon also claims the station would result in the permanent closure of Jubilee Close because of the construction of a ventilation shaft and that TfL have also been providing contradictory estimates on passenger numbers using the new station.

He says a leaked report for Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands shows 40,000 people are expected to use the station between 7am and 10am weekdays - not 15,000 passengers.

Michèle Dix, TfL’s Managing Director for Crossrail 2, said there was an error in the briefing note provided to the MP, and reiterating there will be an estimated 14,300 passengers using the station during the three-hour morning peak.

And she added: “We have no plans to close Jubilee Place permanently. We are in the early stages of developing Crossrail 2 and no final decisions have been made.”
TfL argue a station in Chelsea would improve access to jobs and other opportunities across London, and support local businesses and economic growth in the local area.
A spokesperson added: “It will bring all Chelsea residents within a 10 minute walk of a station, and reduce journey times to the West End and the City.”
To comment on the public consultation go to www.crossrail2.co.uk