Crossrail is going to change the way people view London, says a leading developer, but like the Olympics, no-one is yet sure what the impact might be.
Martyn Evans, creative director of Cathedral Group, which was behind the development of the Millwall Fire Station on the Isle of Dogs, said that Canary Wharf workers would be able to live affordably and within easy reach of the office, changing the dynamics of the city.
He said: “I am building in Hayes, in Hillingdon, around the Crossrail station. There are 3,000 homes in development in a place where no-one would have planned them before Crossrail.
“We are doing that because the value of that land, the value of those homes and the value of the office buildings is not what it is going to be when it takes half an hour to travel from Hayes station to Canary Wharf.
“If you work in Canary Wharf and you earn an average salary and you choose where you’re going to live you can have half an hour bus ride up the road to Stratford. With Crossrail, you can get half an hour on the train from Hayes and buy somewhere truly affordable.
“For us, transport and the commercial and economic regeneration of London are completely, utterly and totally and inextricably linked to transport issues. That is it.
“As a commercial developer sitting in my office looking at a map of London looking at where my next opportunities are I’m looking at transport issues – I’m looking at where this is no transport and about to be some, and I’m looking at where transport is great but underused.
“I don’t think anyone’s got any clue yet what impact Crossrail is going to have on our city. But people will realise what it’s going to do and that will create opportunity.”
Cathedral Group’s projects include the Caxton Works in Canning Town, Morden Wharf, The Movement and Telegraph Works in Greenwich, and the Deptford Project.