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Crossrail open to ‘extending the scope’ of above-ground developments

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan has invited developers to come forward with “holistic” ideas for certain above-ground aspects of Crossrail, saying there is still room for the project to “do more”.

Although such new projects will not see the benefit of Crossrail funding, the client is open to “extending the scope” of such developments.

“We can still do more but the clock is running very hard right now,” Mr Morgan said.

Areas such as Ealing Broadway, Hayes and Harlington, Southall and Slough were singled out as new stations for which the final urban regeneration plan had not yet been set in stone and where there were potential private-sector development opportunities.

“We’re very open to looking at how we might want to repackage some of this… to make it potentially available for even more expansion if the demand is there,” Mr Morgan said.

He added that the west of London faced a “competitive challenge” from Canary Wharf, which is planning to capitalise on Crossrail with a huge capacity increase.

Crossrail has already enlisted private sector partners including Derwent and Great Portland Estates for major over-station developments in central London and £2.2bn of the programme’s £14.8bn budget has been allocated to above-ground development projects.

Mr Morgan also said he is “entirely confident” that the project’s funding would not be touched in the upcoming spending review.

The government announced that £145m had been saved by central government by reviewing and reshaping Crossrail in 2010, when the project’s budget shrank from £15.9bn to £14.8bn.

Speaking at a breakfast seminar hosted by Development Securities last week, Mr Morgan said the business case was too strong and that the project, which could generate up to 50,000 supply chain jobs, was too important for funding to be cut.

GVA Crossrail research:

New research by GVA has shown that Crossrail – now the third largest property developer in Europe – will support 18,000 new homes and 315,000 sq m of commercial space in its Western segments.

The project is set to create £1.25bn of added value to residential and commercial real estate along the route in west London and regions west of the city between 2012 and 2022.

Areas such as Slough, Hayes and Southall have been singled out for a “dramatic economic uplift” in the commercial, residential and retail sectors, according to Development Securities.

Development Securities director Julian Barwick, commenting on the updated research, said the project presented “significant opportunities for developers”.

He added that the “huge investment in the infrastructure of suburban locations” would cause growth to “further flourish”.

But Mr Morgan warned the project had “all the makings of a Terminal 5 plus plus plus”, referring to the glitches that plagued the opening of the new Heathrow terminal building in 2008.

He stressed the importance of de-risking the programme, which will see new trains, tracks, stations and signalling being opened at the same time. 

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