Scale of Crossrail 2 demands land use rethink

Crossrail 2, the proposed new railway serving London and the wider South East, is making big promises; 200,000 new homes, an equal number of new jobs and £102 billion towards Britain’s GDP. However, at the London Real Estate Forum (LREF) which opened today (14 June), a panel debated how London’s constrained land supply can accommodate the growth that the new railway promises.

According to Tony Pierce Interim Head of Projects, Strategic Planning & Design, LB Enfield, Crossrail 2 will force the property sector and government authorities to rethink the way land is used. “There will be winners and losers – that’s progress,” he said. “We will need to accommodate 75,000 extra people by the time Crossrail 2 opens. In one generation, Enfield has to accommodate another Kingston.”

According to Pierce, London’s greenbelt will have to become part of the equation. “40% of Enfield is greenbelt,” said Pierce. “Not just in Enfield, but all the way up to Cambridge. We’d like a more open debate with the property sector and politicians about how its use has to change.”

Pierce said that Crossrail 2 is essential to support London’s growth, and the city will have to accommodate it. “Crossrail 2 is part of the solution,” he said. “It will stimulate the growth of developments such as Meridian Water, which will add 10,000 new homes. At the moment, it takes an hour to get to the centre [of London from Enfield]; Crossrail 2 will bring the journey time down to 15-20 mins.”

According to Michèle Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, the new homes generated by the new railway will bring in an additional £5 billion in stamp duty, and a further £15 billion from existing properties on the route where value will increase. “Crossrail 2 will benefit business, passengers and developers. It will even benefit people not on the route by relieving parallel routes,” she said.

Graham Stallwood, Executive Director for Planning & Development, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, said that Crossrail 2 could add a development value of £6 billion to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, creating 3,500 homes. “Value is more than just homes,” he said. “Work done for local businesses would add £180 million a year to the local economy. An increase in stamp duty would amount to £300 million from existing homes, and £400 million from the homes it would generate.”

However, in order to unlock this value, London must find a way to either make or save space. Clive Pane, Real Estate Consulting Partner, Deloitte Real Estate, said London should consider high density housing developments as a solution. It seems, over 200 years on from when the railway first revolutionised Britain, it is still a driver for change.

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