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Councils call for Crossrail 2 to head east

Government is being urged to commit to an Eastern Phase for Crossrail 2 to unlock the full potential for growth in East London and South Essex.

The call follows findings from a new study which uses the latest projections on population, housing and jobs, as well as research into the benefits of Crossrail 2 services heading east through Hackney, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Thurrock and South Essex.

It finds the huge potential for development in this region, earmarked as one of the UK’s largest strategic locations for growth, could be undermined by leaving it to be served by existing transport infrastructure.

The study, commissioned by Barking and Dagenham, Essex, Hackney and Newham councils, recommends that the Crossrail 2 track split after Angel Station. One branch would head north as planned, while another would go east to Hackney Central, before heading to Hackney Wick and out through Newham and Barking and Dagenham. This new line would then link to the existing Essex Thameside network, with Crossrail 2 services terminating at Basildon and Grays.

Lord Adonis recently announced a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission about how Crossrail 2 should progress. It recommends it focus initially on a single line heading north from Angel, via Dalston Junction and Tottenham Hale, to Hertfordshire. However, it also recommends that the possibility of an Eastern Phase be fully explored. Chancellor George Osborne subsequently backed the Crossrail 2 project in his Budget last week.

The mayors and leaders of the four councils which commissioned the study are now urging Government to commit to making this Eastern Phase integral to the future development of Crossrail 2.

Benefits of the Eastern Phase proposals include:

  • A £20.5 billion boost to the economy.
  • Support the expected population growth of 512,000 people.
  • Support the 265,000 new jobs and 233,000 new homes earmarked for the region.
  • Reduced journey times from South Essex and East London to Central London - many by more than 50%, some by almost 30 minutes.
  • Trains every four minutes between Barking and Hackney, and every eight minutes from Basildon and Grays.
  • Additional capacity for 67,000 commuters during the morning peak.
  • Relieved overcrowding on Essex Thameside Route, the District Line, the Hammersmith & City Line, and London Overground.

Benefits specific to each council area are explaned in the brochure below.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
The announcements from Lord Adonis and George Osborne are hugely important endorsements of Crossrail 2, and I particularly welcome the recognition of a potential Eastern Phase. This would create hundreds of thousands of much-needed new homes and jobs across East London and South Essex, attracting major investment and boosting the national economy.

“We now look forward to working with the Government, the National Infrastructure Commission and Transport for London on making the Eastern Phase a reality. This new research which demonstrates the huge potential it would unlock for growth, and the threat to these aspirations by expecting the existing transport infrastructure to cope, means it’s crucial that the Government commit to an Eastern Phase as soon as possible.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham, said: “As London continues to look east, Barking and Dagenham is poised as London’s growth opportunity to play its part and I am very happy to work with my colleagues both across north east London and in Essex to make this happen.”

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “The National Infrastructure Commission report will accelerate the regeneration of south Essex if the extension of Crossrail 2 is agreed, potentially creating 11,000 new jobs and 12,500 new homes in the process. We urge the chancellor to make funds for planning available immediately. There is no good reason to wait.

“As well as investment in London and the north, we believe the Government needs to go further in the east. We have a £33 billion economy and with the right investment it could double over the coming years.”

Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “Over the next 25 years London’s population growth will be concentrated in the east and Thames Gateway. Newham is already home to the largest regeneration projects in the country, alongside this and developments taking place in the surrounding areas, vital infrastructure is needed to accommodate the projected jobs and growth.

“The Government has historically failed to fund infrastructure in East London and have held this part of the city back for too long. Investing in Crossrail 2 with an Eastern Phase would help deliver further economic benefits to the capital and deliver the huge potential of the area. The Government must not miss this opportunity.”

The full report by transport consultants GHD is expected to be published in the next few weeks and will be available on request. The headline findings – include breakdown by council area, a proposed route map and table of journey times are available in the attached PDF brochure, or in hard copy on request.

The National Infrastructure Commission report is available here.

Pages from the Eastern Phase brochure. Click to enlarge and download.