A landmark £100m deal between Berkeley Homes and Crossrail will put Woolwich on the map
Yesterday’s announcement of agreement to build a Crossrail Station at Woolwich is the culmination of a 5½ year long campaign. The original Crossrail route passed in a tunnel underneath Woolwich, but the only station south of the river was at Abbey Wood a relatively small and not easily accessible site. The historic opportunity to improve transport linkage in South East London and to boost regeneration at Woolwich would have been wasted.
The Parliamentary Committee charged with scrutinizing the Crossrail legislation between 2005 and 2007 heard the case and were convinced. As a result a Woolwich Station was added to the scheme.
But financial constraints meant that a substantial private sector contribution was essential if we were to ensure that the station would be built. Berkeley Homes, who were already committed to a major housing scheme at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, agreed to build the station box and in return were given planning consent for 1,000 more homes on the site. At the same time they and Crossrail worked together to ensure a more cost-effective station design.
Negotiations over the detailed arrangements have taken longer than many of us would have liked, but agreement has now been reached - securing a win-win solution.
This is not the end of the story. The arrangements for meeting the station fit-out costs have still to be negotiated, but those of us who have campaigned long and hard for the Woolwich Station and overcome formidable obstacles to get where we are, are determined not to let the prize slip from our grasp.