Developer to pay half of cost of £125m Alsop-designed station if trans-London line goes through Docklands.
Developer Canary Wharf has stepped up pressure on the government to run the proposed CrossRail line through London Docklands by offering to pay half the cost of a £125m station.

Architect Will Alsop is understood to be working on designs for the station, which would be built beneath a 4 million ft2 office development. This will consist of two 50-storey towers at the North Quay site on the northern edge of the 86-acre estate.

The developer has carried out feasibility work on the station and has presented designs to CrossRail, which is currently assessing different routes for the rail link through east London.

If the station is built, it could fuel a massive expansion at Canary Wharf, which presently contains 8.5 million ft2 of offices. A further 10 million ft2 are at the design or construction stage.

A Canary Wharf spokesperson said: "We've been talking to CrossRail about where a station could go, and it would best fit our North Quay site. Rather than just let someone put a station in, we'd work with them."

The developer is calling for other landowners along the proposed CrossRail route to make similar contributions in order to ensure the line is built. The spokesperson said the developer would pay half the cost of the station, but added: "We will contribute financially to CrossRail if all the other parties who benefit contribute as well."

The £10bn subterranean railway is considered crucial to relieving congestion on London's roads, railways and Underground system. However, rows over funding and the location of stations have delayed the project, which was proposed in 1988.

Rather than just let someone put a station in, we’d work with them

Canary Wharf spokesperson

CrossRail will link Heathrow in the west to Westminster, the City and Stratford in the east. Options for the route include an extension along the Thames Gateway regeneration corridor and branches serving commuter towns to the west and east of the capital.

Route options, including a number of potential station sites in Docklands, are still being considered and will be presented to the government at the end of the year.

Canary Wharf's offer is likely to cause controversy. The Corporation of London, which represents the City and is one of the bodies pushing to get the line built, has fought to prevent it going through Canary Wharf. The corporation is worried that a Docklands station would dramatically increase the cost of the line and lead to further businesses locating to its east London rival.

The developer acquired the North Quay site two years ago and plans to build two 50-storey skyscrapers on it. The CrossRail station would go beneath the towers and contain underground pedestrian links to the rest of the Canary Wharf development.

Architect Cesar Pelli, who designed the One Canada Square tower, and Richard Rogers have been linked with the site. A planning application is due to be submitted to Tower Hamlets council in the next few months.