Tube exit could get £2m redesign to accommodate Charedi travellers

The entrance to South Kensington tube is connected to the Science museum which houses human remains


South Kensington Station sign.

The exit to a tube station in South Kensington's museum mile could get a multi-million-pound overhaul in plans to accommodate Charedi travellers passing through the stop.

In plans submitted to the Chelsea and Kensington council's planning committee, a small roof would be added to the entrance of the station, to separate it from the Science Museum.

According to evidence given to the committee by the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, special accommodations are necessary for Kohanim within their community to allow them to use the station.

The Charedi body told the council that Kohanim have “special rules and guidelines on how to behave”.

they added: "One of them is not to come in any shape or form in contact with a deceased (exceptions are made for immediate family), even not being under one roof."

The current tube station is connected to the Science Museum via an underground walkway that allows passengers to enter the museum directly from below. The Science museum holds a number of human remains in its collections.

The proposed addition of a tiny roof would mean that the deceased bodies would not be under the same roof as the rest of the station, allowing the Charedi Kohanim to use it.

The Charedi group said that the change would benefit approximately 1500 Kohanim in the capital and the plans were originally approved by the council.

However, Imperial College and a group that represents the museums in the area have asked for more information about how the plans would affect access to their sites.

In a statement the Exhibition Road Cultural Group said: “The drawings on the application do not give details to understand the impact of the proposed installation on the visibility of the station entrance, the flow of pedestrians and the overall design of this heavily used area.

“It is not clear from the drawings whether the proposal is to include a religious message on the installation. Exhibition Road is a high-profile and complex public space, with multiple users and a holistic approach is necessary to consider permanent changes there.”

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