My Concern over a Crossrail Levy in Wandsworth

At February’s Mayor’s Question Time, I asked Boris Johnson to ensure that the Crossrail levy, proposed in the London Plan, does not threaten much-needed regeneration in Wandsworth’s Nine Elms Lane development area.

Under the recently published proposals, developers in Nine Elms and other areas in the borough will be asked to contribute to the funding of Crossrail, a major new railway line that will run through Central London from Maidenhead in the west to Essex in the east. The Mayor plans to levy a fixed charge on all office developments with over 500 sq m of floorspace in London’s so-called “Central Activities Zone”, which he hopes will raise up to £200 million of funding. Nine Elms is incorporated into this area.

Most people accept that Crossrail will be an essential piece of London’s transport infrastructure and will bring great benefits to its economy. Therefore it is right the developments to benefit from the plan should contribute.

But, it seems odd that developers in Nine Elms should have to pay the Crossrail levy when the line will not even through Wandsworth. Finding money for this scheme could put at risk funding for other transport improvements in the area or, worse still, stifle development altogether. It seems even more bizarre that areas including Tottenham Court Road and Stratford, through which Crossrail will run and no doubt accrue great benefit, are not being asked to contribute a penny towards its construction.

I fear that the costs of the levy, added to the present economic difficulties, run the risk of snuffing out vital redevelopment in the Nine Elms area. This is why I have called on Boris to revisit the levy proposal to find some way of ameliorating its effect on construction projects of this kind.

Richard Tracey AM is the London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth


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