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Revealed: Early plans to re-open old Highbury station – and redevelop Trevi and The Garage next door

PUBLISHED: 07:58 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 August 2017

The entrance to the old Highbury Station, on the Great Northern and City Railway - now the Northern City Line, which still runs through Highbury and Islington. Picture: Lucy Fisher/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

The entrance to the old Highbury Station, on the Great Northern and City Railway - now the Northern City Line, which still runs through Highbury and Islington. Picture: Lucy Fisher/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

Archant

Transport bosses have drawn up plans for a multi-million-pound redevelopment of the former Highbury and Islington station across the road from the existing one, the Gazette can reveal.

The old Highbury Station entrance. Picture: Mark Hillary/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0 The old Highbury Station entrance. Picture: Mark Hillary/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

TfL committee meeting papers let slip scant details of the project alongside a grainy postage stamp-sized architect’s drawing.

The reopening of the old entrance as a ticket hall could help alleviate the dangerous overcrowding at the station during rush hour, and would also create step-free access.

But Murphy Group, the named developers, remained tight-lipped when quizzed by this newspaper about the plans, refusing to comment or share the original drawing as they were “struggling to hunt it down”.

The project would be worth millions and radically reshape Britain’s 15th busiest station.

This grainy artist's impression of the new-look station is the only solid evidence of the plans. Murphy Group said it was having trouble tracking down the original. This grainy artist's impression of the new-look station is the only solid evidence of the plans. Murphy Group said it was having trouble tracking down the original.

The drawing shows a makeover of the 1904 entrance extended towards Holloway Road, suggesting music venue The Garage and Italian restaurant Trevi would be demolished.

TfL confirmed talks were taking place with Murphy Group, which has also worked on a project in Highbury Crescent behind the old station.

Early plans involve creating a “new ticket hall with lifts to the Victoria line and National Rail platform”.

A TfL spokesman told the Gazette: “It’s in the very, very early stages but we are talking to a few different stakeholders. There is nothing confirmed and no timeline but it would involve the whole station, making it bigger and putting in step-free access. It would make it quicker and faster to move through the station.”

Overcrowding at Highbury and Islington station before an Arsenal game. Picture: Sam Gelder Overcrowding at Highbury and Islington station before an Arsenal game. Picture: Sam Gelder

Cllr Caroline Russell, who is on the London Assembly’s transport committee as well as being ward councillor for the area, welcomed the plans.

She told the Gazette: “I’ve lost count of the times residents have sensibly asked if the closed station can be reopened. The shafts were apparently filled with signalling equipment in the past making the exit unusable.

“This would help with matchday overcrowding and importantly make the station properly accessible for people with mobility impairment.”

The station in question, on the east side of Highbury Corner, functioned as an entrance to the Great Northern and City Railway – now the Northern City Line, which still runs through Highbury and Islington but is only accessible through the main station.

"I’ve lost count of the times residents have sensibly asked if the closed station can be reopened. This would help with matchday overcrowding and importantly make the station properly accessible for people with mobility impairment"

Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member and Highbury East councillor

The artist’s impression shows a low-rise development on top of the station, with the old facade intact. TfL would not confirm details, but the image shows what could be flats on the highest level.

In 2014 TfL said it would consider restoring the facade of the existing station to its Victorian glory if someone else paid for it, following a campaign by neighbour Neil Bowdler.

What do you think about the plans? E-mail gazette.letters@archant.co.uk.

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