Now housebuilders call on government to green light Crossrail 2 as a way to help tackle London's housing crisis

Rebecca Smith
Crossrail is set to be fully operational in 2019
Crossrail is set to be fully operational in 2019 (Source: Getty)

Housebuilders have added to the call for the government to firmly commit to Crossrail 2, saying it will be crucial in helping address the capital's housing crisis.

Some 66 homebuilding and property figures, including representatives from Taylor Wimpey, Berkeley, British Land and Derwent have written to the government saying the infrastructure project will help unlock new homes, as well as commercial space.

Read more: Business leaders urge government to deliver Crossrail 2 for Brexit boost

Crossrail 2 will connect National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire with an underground tunnel beneath central London between Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale and New Southgate.

In the letter, the homebuilding and property representatives, argue the new railway will transform transport capacity, as well as connectivity, for underdeveloped areas of the capital like the Upper Lea Valley. Housebuilders said it would give them the certainty to accelerate the development of up to 200,000 new homes.

Tony Pidgley, chairman at Berkeley, said: “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.

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.

The housebuilders' call followed a letter last month, penned by more than 70 business leaders from across the South East to chancellor Philip Hammond and transport secretary Chris Grayling, saying the project was of "national importance" and should be allowed to progress rapidly.

Also today, the Westminster Property Association published a report setting out how private sector investment could be maximised to help recoup the costs of Crossrail 2.

Transport for London (TfL) has submitted a business case and funding plan on Crossrail 2 to the transport secretary, who is set to make a decision on further government support in the spring.

Rail minister Paul Maynard said the government is "carefully considering" the plan to ensure it is "robust and includes a fair, sustainable and deliverable funding plan".

Read more: Mayor "disappointed" there was no Budget backing for Crossrail 2

Housebuilders' letter to the government: The full text

Dear chancellor,

We want to see a government commitment to progress Crossrail 2 without delay. The project is vital for us to unlock capacity for new, good-quality homes, offices and other commercial uses that are urgently needed across London and the South East.

We see Crossrail 2, half of which will be directly funded by London, as a key boost to our collective efforts to tackle the housing crisis. It will transform transport capacity and connectivity for underdeveloped areas of the capital, such as the Upper Lea Valley, giving the certainty needed to accelerate the development of up to 200,000 new homes. Many of these new homes will be in the capital, with 30 per cent outside London supporting regional employment centres like Cambridge and Portsmouth.

With a green light for the project to move to the next phase, we will seize the opportunities Crossrail 2 presents through greater transport capacity, new connections and improved links from Hampshire to Cambridgeshire and beyond. We urge the government to give the scheme its firm backing now so that Crossrail 2 can move ahead with certainty.

Yours sincerely,

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