New report argues case for rail link and flexible planning policies

The government should put its full backing behind Crossrail 2 to spark construction of thousands of new homes in London, according to a new major report.

A coalition of property and businesses, including British Land, Derwent London, Grosvenor and Land Securities, say Crossrail 2 could be a major driver for London and UK growth, with private sector investment being maximised to help recoup the project’s costs.

The report, commissioned by the Westminster Property Association, argued that Crossrail 2 would create vital new capacity across London’s transport network, freeing up space on rail lines across a swathe of the commuter belt from Surrey to Hertfordshire, and creating an important interchange at Euston for HS2.

It would also unlock land for the development of up to 200,000 homes along the line and create more than 100,000 jobs in Central London.

Flexible and proactive policies needed to be put in place to “promote a new wave of placemaking in the heart of the capital”, the document argued.

The report said denser – but sensitive – mixed-use development “would maximise the economic benefits provided by the railway as well as funding more of its cost, helping to ensure that London pays half the costs of the railway”.

Authored by international real estate consultancy JLL, the report also recommended more flexibility over policies involving height and residential use in certain locations and higher levels of public-private partnership to deal with fragmented land ownership, spreading the benefits beyond the immediate vicinity of new train stations.

Craig McWilliam, vice Chairman of WPA and chief executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “Civic leaders with a placemaking vision should unleash the West End’s potential to deliver Crossrail 2. The economic case for this vital piece of infrastructure is strong, the benefits are national and the opportunity should be taken. Private sector leaders in Central London stand ready to make the case.”

The report focuses on how one of the shortest sections of the proposed new line could play a bigger role in funding Crossrail 2. The Victoria-Euston corridor links the West End, the UK’s most economically productive business centre, with Euston.

Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross said: “Property and business leaders know that Crossrail 2 is vital for London, the South East, and the whole of the UK. It’s key to unlocking homes, jobs, and economic growth, as well as providing a huge boost to the transport network.

“Half the cost of the project can be met through funding from London, but we need the government to provide the other half so the whole country can benefit for this vital project.”