Property industry calls for Govt backing for Crossrail 2 to help boost new home building

Crossrail 2, the proposed rail route linking south west and north East London from Surrey to Hertfordshire, will help boost the housing crisis in and around London, according to home building industry leaders.

The major infrastructure project will help deliver 200,000 new homes by increasing connectivity for underdeveloped areas, particularly in London, and transform transport capacity, according to more than 60 professionals in the property and home building industry.

In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond they are urging the British Government to give the project its bull backing and say they are ready to seize the opportunity to use the development potential.

The 66 signatories include Taylor Wimpey, British Land, Melanie Leech of the British Property Federation and all of the g15, London’s largest housing associations, all backing the potential to build good quality homes and commercial space.

The industry leaders say the new railway would transform transport capacity and connectivity for underdeveloped areas of the capital, such as the Upper Lea Valley and this will give house builders the certainty they need to accelerate the development of up to 200,000 new homes urgently needed to help address the housing shortage across London and the South East.

They believe that the benefits will be felt right across the South East with 30% of the new homes delivered outside London, supporting regional growth corridors between Cambridge and Stansted, and South West towards Portsmouth.

The signatories point out that Angel Road station in the Upper Lea Valley, for example, is currently London’s least used station, and offers no services at all into Liverpool Street between 10am and 3.30pm. Crossrail 2 would give the area up to 12 trains per hour, transforming its viability for development.

The letter comes on the same day that the Westminster Property Association (WPA) called on the Government to back Crossrail 2 with the publication of a report setting out how private sector investment could be maximised to help recoup the project’s costs.

‘Crossrail 2 is a fantastic opportunity to improve London and the South East’s infrastructure, and will help us build the homes this region desperately needs,’ said Tony Pidgley, chairman of the Berkeley Group.

‘It will unlock areas of huge potential, such as the Upper Lea Valley, and we will look to these areas to meet the demand for housing. Crossrail 2 is the only scheme that can make a significant difference to the South East’s housing stock and the Government must not delay,’ he added.

According to Stephen Howlett, chief executive of Peabody, the right transport infrastructure is essential to boost the supply of desperately needed new homes in London. He pointed out that Crossrail 1 and the extension of the Docklands Light Railway will unlock 20,000 new homes at Thamesmead in South East London and Crossrail 2 would have a similarly transformative effect across London.

‘As well as boosting housing supply, Crossrail 2 will create jobs and drive London’s economy. We hope the project will get the go ahead in the very near future,’ he said.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, believes that Crossrail 2 will stimulate regeneration up and down its route from the Solent to the Wash, opening sites for new housing and employment. ‘A swift decision from Government on Crossrail 2 would provide a vote of confidence for our industry as we support most, if not all, UK economic activity, through our provision of homes, offices and commercial space,’ she said.

The project also has the backing of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. ‘London and the South East need new homes and the Government can clearly show its long term commitment to tackling the housing crisis by backing Crossrail 2,’ he said.

‘Key home building and property leaders are clear that this vital project will unlock areas across the region and bring up to 200,000 new homes where they are desperately needed. It’s time for the government to take note of the huge transport, economic and housing benefits, and give us the go ahead to progress,’ he explained.

Last month, more than 70 business leaders, including Deloitte, Aviva Group, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf Group, FSB Surrey & West Sussex, and Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, and Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, hailed the infrastructure project as being of national importance.

The letter also points out that Crossrail 2 would not just transform journey times and connectivity but relieve congestion on the overcrowded key National Rail lines from Hampshire to Cambridgeshire, and link with HS2 at Euston. It would also relieve pressure on the Underground as the population of London and the South East grows.

It adds that without the additional capacity Crossrail 2 will provide, mainline stations will face ever greater overcrowding and delays and London has already committed to meeting half the cost but now the project needs a commitment from Ministers.