Another railway in London will have economic benefits for the city, according to an open letter from business leaders.
With Crossrail set to begin running in 2018, the Mayor of London’s office has already drawn up early plans for a second project to begin in the next decade.
London’s population is set to top 10 million by 2030, and some of the UK’s most powerful business leaders have issued a call to the Government to support the economic case for building the Crossrail 2 southwest rail link across London.
The call to action came as Mayor Boris Johnson announced the creation of the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission, and the appointment of Sir Merrick Cockell as its chairman.
In an open letter to the Times newspaper highlighting the importance of the new railway to the UK economy, business leaders called on ministers to use the current spending review to provide the development funding needed to start building Crossrail 2 early in the 2020s.
The likes of Simon Collins, UK chairman of Wharf-based KPMG, and Lord Mervyn Davies, chairman of Chime Communications, believe Crossrail 2 is vital to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and homes, and argue rapid progress of the new rail link needs to be harnessed now to support growth in London, and across the UK.
The Mayor urged the Government to boost support for the scheme as he set out plans for the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission.
He said: “Crossrail 2 will help realise London’s full economic potential, increasing the nation’s productivity and creating thousands of new jobs and homes.
“Major projects take time to plan and prepare and with Crossrail 1 nearing completion, we must move quickly to the next transformational growth project which could see even more benefits delivered.
“Crossrail 2 will support up to 200,000 more homes and jobs, adding billions of pounds to the national economy and ensuing a prosperous future for the whole country.”
The commission wants to maximise the benefit of the new railway by bringing together the London boroughs, county councils outside London and other key business and development stakeholders along the route to work together on how the railway can best support housing and job creation.
A statement from the Mayor’s office claimed the construction of Crossrail 2 would potentially support around 60,000 full time jobs.
It also claims that, once operational, Crossrail 2 would allow more people to access jobs, supporting the creation of up to 200,000 new jobs, both locally and in London’s highly productive central area.
Lord Mervyn Davies, chairman of Chime Communications said: “It is vital that we increase the country’s productivity and with London growing rapidly we cannot afford to delay this transformational project.
“By supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and homes, Crossrail 2 will drive the UK economy forward - that’s why we are calling for rapid progress to ensure that that this essential new railway is ready for when we need it.”
A public consultation will begin in the autumn, providing more information on the scheme including locations for work sites and station entrances. The commission will report in Spring 2016.
The route would begin at Cheshunt in the north and link with southwest London sites, travelling as far as Epsom. It would take in central stops Tottenham Court Road, St Pancras and Angel.
The line would also touch east London, as one of the stops is set to be Dalston Junction, with possibilities for a future stop to be included at Hackney Central.