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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 14:32 GMT
Tube station closure sparks anger
Shepherd's Bush station
A shopping centre is due to open near the station later this year
A busy west London Underground station has been closed while its escalators are replaced, sparking traders' anger.

Shepherd's Bush on the Central Line, used by an estimated 20,000 people a day, will remain shut until October.

Local businesses said they would lose trade and the area's MP has strongly criticised the closure.

London Underground (LU) said it was in customers' interest to complete the work before a new shopping centre opens nearby later this year.

The station's 80-year-old escalators cannot be replaced without closing the entire station, LU's director of strategy and service Richard Parry said.

'Best time'

Further work needs to be carried out at the station before the opening of the new 1.6bn shopping centre, called the Westfield complex, he added.

The number of passengers using the station is expected to double when the shopping centre opens late this year.

"The station must close to replace the escalators at some point over the next few years," Mr Parry said.

"We are absolutely convinced that it is the best time to do it now, to get all the work over in one go."

Replacement bus services are taking customers from the station to neighbouring Tube stations.

Andrew Slaughter
This is a classic case of big corporations doing the dirty on the little guy
Andrew Slaughter, MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush

But critics say the closure puts shoppers' needs before those of local residents and businesses.

Ali Omar, who runs a food store, said its closure would be a "nightmare".

"We are losing a lot of potential customers," he said.

Tammi Willis, who runs nearby Ginglik nightclub, said: "Every day the Tube has closed in the past we have seen a really significant impact.

"People are definitely going to find it more difficult to get to the Bush."

Andrew Slaughter, Labour MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush, described the station's closure as "unprecedented".

He said the escalators were not due to be replaced for four years, by which time improved transport links would make the station's closure less inconvenient.

"This is a classic case of big corporations doing the dirty on the little guy - both local independent businesses and the thousands of commuters who use this station every day," he said.

Opposition to Tube closure plan
07 Jan 08 |  London

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