If the Night Tube was introduced during the working week, then it would be a game changer.
It would mean people who work shifts – such as ambulance workers, fire fighters, nurses, junior doctors and other professionals who provide around the clock support to the community – wouldn’t need to pay high central London rents to be close to their work.
Realistically, though, the weekend service is only likely to benefit revellers rather than London’s workers with a minimal impact on outer zone property values.
It’s time for the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to finally step-up to the plate and deliver on his promise for more affordable housing for the capital and London workers. So far he has failed to see the potential that extending transport services can have on the affordable housing sector. With his blinkers on, he has only concentrated on building more homes, which takes a considerable amount of time and resources.
It is Sadiq’s responsibility to give access to affordable accommodation. Better transportation to outer London is the key to providing better access to affordable property. This has a double benefit as it would alleviate some of the pressure for accommodation in central London as workers won’t need to be in Zones 1 to 3 if they have easy access to Zones 4 to 6. As the outer zones become more popular, it will spread the load and have a knock-on effect for capital values and rents in the inner zones.
Take, for example, the staff at a hospital such as Charing Cross in west London. The average property prices in the surrounding area of Barons Court, Hammersmith and Fulham ranges between £810,000 and £1.2m and median rents in Hammersmith and Fulham borough are £2,058 per month, according to Zoopla. This is completely unaffordable for a nurse who earns £24,500 per annum.
If the Piccadilly Line Night Tube ran to Heathrow during the working week, then a nurse would be in a better position to buy a home within the Hounslow/Hatton Cross areas, where property values are currently around £350,000. Median rents within a mile of Hatton Cross Station are £1,200 per month – 42 per cent cheaper than Hammersmith and Fulham.
Now let’s look to east London in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, where Sadiq has announced his 10,000-home ‘Barcelona-on-Thames’ plan. Half of these homes have been earmarked as affordable and a new rail station will be delivered.
Surely to support the influx and demand in this neighbourhood, a 24/7 service on the District Line would be more beneficial. It can also be delivered more quickly than a new rail station.
If Sadiq Khan delivered a truly 24/7 service on the Tube, we’d not only have a world-class transportation system, but key workers would be able to afford to buy their own homes, too.