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TfL could mothball Battersea tube stop over cost dispute

Transport for London could refuse to open a new tube stop at Battersea Power Station if a cost dispute with the developer behind the project is not resolved. 

Speaking at the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee, TfL major projects director Stuart Harvey said keeping the station closed was “an option” but would not be drawn on whether the body was considering that course of action.

The new station at Battersea forms a key part of TfL’s £1bn Northern line extension and will improve connectivity for those living at the £8bn development.

Last May, TfL revealed that the cost of the extension had increased by £240m after the developer Battersea Power Station Development Corporation (BPSDC) made changes to the project’s original design, including the underground station.

Since then TfL and Battersea’s Malaysian developers, P Setia, Sime Derby and the Employee’s Provident Fund, have been locked in talks over how much the developer should contribute towards the added costs.

When asked by assembly member Len Duvall whether TfL could refuse to open the new station if an agreement wasn’t reached, Mr Harvey said: “I wouldn’t disagree that that is an option, I wouldn’t say if it was on the list.”

Mr Harvey also did not rule out ending up in court with the developer saying ending up in court was ”always an option”, but said this wasn’t the route either party would want to take.

Commenting on TfL’s bargaining position in the talks, Mr Harvey said: “Very aware of our levers and weaknesses and thinking about that in approach moving forward.”

He added that he could not foresee an agreement being reached between both parties until after Christmas.

The Northern line extension project is currently being delivered by a Ferrovial / Laing O’Rourke joint venture and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

Mr Harvey said the contractors were still aiming to meet that deadline but admitted that it would be “extremely challenging”.

He was speaking just after being recently appointed as the head of TfL’s new major projects division and said he would be meeting with board members of both contractors to discuss how to move forward with the project.

He added that the project was ”progressing very well” and tunnelling was nearly three-quarters finished.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We are fully focussed on completing the Northern line extension, including the opening of the new Underground station at Battersea. The tunnel boring machines are making excellent progress and work at both stations is well underway.”

Construction News has contacted BPSDC for comment.

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