CAMPAIGNERS have criticised a new bid for a train depot in Hornsey, after a rail operator applied for planning permission.

Network Rail want to build a train shed at Coronation Sidings, which they say is a necessity for work on new, longer trains due to be rolled out on the Thameslink rail service.

The authority had their original plan for a larger building halted by the former Local Government Secretary John Denham in 2009 after nearby residents expressed horror at the scale of the proposed depot.

But now the revised proposal, which is 45 per cent smaller than the original and two metres lower, has caused controversy after Network Rail submitted planning permission before the Easter holiday.

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Robert Gorrie, who represents Hornsey, said: “This is the worst time for consultation on a major development like this. Either this is a ploy by the applicant to minimise scrutiny or a simply another cock-up in this sorry saga.

“I am concerned that despite the controversy surrounding the last proposals the Council seem to be nonplussed about ensuring that local people have the greatest opportunity to have their say.

“Local residents’ groups have tried to work with Network Rail on this development but there is little evidence that any of their fears of the noise, traffic and disruption caused by the train shed have been properly listened to.

“I have written to the Minister for Transport to ask that residents are heard.”

The revised plan will now only be big enough to accommodate three trains instead of the six in the original proposal.

The train shed would also aim to protect the trees and wildlife on the embankment near the rail tracks, something that residents objected to in the original consultation.

Residents' groups around the site have teamed up to campaign against the proposal, and have written a letter outlining their objections to the scheme, after meeting with Network Rail chiefs.

The letter was signed by the New River Village Residents' Association, Parkside Malvern Residents' Association, Mildura Court Residents' Association and Burghley Road Residents' Association.

It said: “Our concerns include poor quality design quality, visual intrusion, overshadowing, noise and light pollution, as well as additional traffic and an intensity of use that will be a blight on the communities of New River Village and the promised Haringey Heartlands.”

The proposal would also see 120 jobs created, but John Stanford, branch secretary of the Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, says the original plan would have created 250 posts.

He said: “Nobody seems to think about the jobs and economic benefits of this train shed.

“We've lost 130 jobs from the original plan and all the coverage has been about the impact on the environment.

“I'm keen to get the message out that this train shed will create jobs for young people in the area.”

Jim Crawford, Network Rail's major programme director for Thameslink, said: “The benefits of the Thameslink upgrade will be felt across London and the south east, with significant opportunities for improvements to services on the line through Hornsey.

“The revised plans for Hornsey depot strike a balance between providing for a bigger, better railway and taking into account existing and future neighbours.”