A new London Underground building due to go on site this summer is likely to face demolition when a masterplan for the area is agreed. The new entrance and ticket hall for the Elephant and Castle tube station is being constructed at a cost of £12 million.
Designed by Haverstock Associates, the station will be bigger than the temporary building it replaces and will be equipped with new lifts. But both the architects and London Underground Ltd (LUL) accept that the project could be swept away in just five10 years.
'It doesn't form part of the current masterplan, but any argument for keeping the current building open for another winter just didn't work, ' Allan Thomson, senior planner with LUL, told the AJ.
'Even if the new station lasts for just five years or so, we still think it will be worth it. [The former building] was in a very poor state and didn't offer any quality of service to staff or passengers, ' said Thomson.
The architect accepts that the building is likely to face a demolition team prematurely, but did not wish to comment on the matter.
The current ticket hall was built as a temporary shelter more than a decade ago, but plans to replace it with a permanent building have been subject to delays. Planning consent on the hall has now expired, the roof leaks and it has become too cramped to accommodate the increasing number of passengers.
Members of Southwark council and Transport for London met earlier this week to discuss the project, and agreed on the short lifespan of the new station, according to Fred Manson, Southwark's director of regeneration and environment.
'Transport for London is absolutely behind the idea of the total transformation of the area, but could not continue operating the lifts and station with the state they were in. We see no incompatability in this, ' said Manson.
The masterplan for the area, being developed by Southwark Land Regeneration (whose team includes Foster and Partners) is certain to make significant changes to both the road and public transport infrastructure of the south London site.
Thomson, however, hopes that the new station building will be able to survive until one of the final phases of the building project - remaining intact and in use while another station is being built.