Stephen Fry: Crossrail 2 scheme is a 'threat to Soho's authentic soul'

Stephen Fry has warned that Soho is facing a threat to its “authentic soul” under plans for Crossrail 2.

The 59-year-old actor and presenter has launched a petition to “save” the famous area of London from the transport scheme.

Urging people to sign a petition, the Baftas host wrote: “We do not oppose Crossrail 2. However, we oppose any decision to include Soho in the scheme.

“The new threat to Soho’s authentic soul coming from Crossrail 2 is a real and urgent issue that needs … to be debated and understood as widely as possible around the country.”

Stephen, who is chairman of Save Soho, added: “Soho is not just a metropolitan enclave … it is a focus, a magnet for the young, creative and open-minded around the country.

“I believe and hope that this petition will do a great deal to focus public awareness and understanding of the dangerous waters lapping up against Soho and the very real and exciting possibilities that arise from retaining the area’s spirit.”

He warned that “the future of Soho could change dramatically” if plans are approved to demolish “two blocks of Soho for a new train station that will bring double the footfall of King’s Cross Underground into and around” the area.

“That’s 270,000 people every three-hour peak right on the corner of Frith Street and Shaftesbury Avenue,” he added.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that London’s transport network will grind to a halt due to overcrowding unless the Government backs Crossrail 2.

Construction could start in the early 2020s and the railway could be open by 2033.

Save Soho founder and musician Tim Arnold said the potential impact on Soho was “a national issue”.

“Every taxpayer in the UK will be paying out of their pockets for the £32 billion bill for another London project that will destroy a valuable cultural asset,” he said.

“Sign this petition to stop the Government from wasting your money on demolishing the world’s leading community of diversity, inclusivity and a longstanding legacy to provide space for creativity and freedom of expression. That space now has a shelf life of months.”

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