South Kensington is one of London’s most prestigious and recognised locations in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The station was originally opened in 1868 and welcomes over 34 million customers every year as people flock to London’s museum quarter. This impressive footfall has led to some degree of deterioration on the line which has now prompted Transport for London (TfL) to begin its upgrade project. The transport operator is welcoming bids from the open market to create a joint venture partnership to tastefully restore and develop the iconic gateway station. This scheme will provide vital funds to create step-free access to the District and Circle lines via a new station entrance on Thurloe Street. Subject to planning, the development including step-free access to the District and Circle line and the pedestrian subway could be complete in 2022.
The site also includes the main station entrances through the Grade II listed shopping arcade, which will be restored to its original state, and a second entrance via a Grade II listed pedestrian subway. TfL (@TfLRail ) is aiming to identify a partner later this year. TfL and the chosen partner will then form a joint venture to develop proposals for the site in consultation with the local community and seek planning permission to develop the site.
Separately, TfL is continuing to progress plans to rebuild a disused platform for eastbound District and Circle line services. The ticket hall and gate line will be expanded and a new emergency exit to the road bridge leading onto Thurloe Square bridge will be opened. Subject to planning permission, works could start early next year.
Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development Director at Transport for London said: "South Kensington Tube station is one of our busiest stations and also the gateway to some of the most important and treasured cultural institutions anywhere in the world. We want to find a long-term partner with whom we can work to create a station that reflects its historic legacy and unique setting, whilst generating vital revenue to reinvest in transport and provide step-free access for millions of journeys."
These plans come after the major of London’s announcement to install step-free access in 30 stations across the network costing £200 million. This will be of particular use to the area to make local attractions like the Science Museum, Imperial College and the Natural History Museum more accessible to the public from underground.