Mayor welcomes Government funding that can deliver big wins for London

02 December 2014

The Mayor of London has welcomed funding commitments by the Government that promise to help deliver a series of significant housing and transport schemes in the capital. Funding has been confirmed to help deliver an extension of London Overground to Barking Riverside, regenerate four major housing estates in the capital, support the development of the Crossrail 2 scheme and increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The commitments made by the Government to London are big wins with the potential to make a big difference; and they were secured following tough negotiations at a critical time for our city. This is the number one capital in the world, our population is rocketing and there is an urgent requirement for new housing and transport infrastructure. We’ve delivered an astonishing number of new homes, but demand shows no sign of ceasing and the schemes confirmed today will be of huge help in securing a successful future for our city.”

A new rail link to London’s largest regeneration scheme at Barking Riverside is another step closer to construction thanks to a £55m Government loan that will help to fund an extension of the London Overground. Altogether around 10,800 new homes will eventually be built on 443 acres of land released by Barking Riverside Limited, a joint venture company between the Mayor and Bellway Homes, which will support 2,500 permanent jobs. The scheme is equivalent to building a new town the size of Windsor and today’s confirmation of funding has given developers the confidence to confirm they will be able to immediately begin construction work on the infrastructure to release the next plot of land, which will enable construction of around 680 new homes.

The Mayor has also welcomed £150m of funding that the Government has earmarked for spending on regeneration work across four major housing estates in the capital. With London’s population growing at its fastest pace since the 1930s the work will improve the estates for local people and speed up the supply of new housing.

Many of London’s housing estates contain post war public housing blocks that are reaching the end of their life, and the Mayor successfully lobbied the Government to create an Estates Regeneration Fund that would help support carefully planned redevelopment plans on housing estates in London and across the UK. All of the bids shortlisted by the Government and the Greater London Authority are from the capital. All aim to provide residents with high quality and urgently needed homes that meet the Mayor’s improved design standards and will establish vibrant neighbourhoods in areas that need new investment.

Regeneration projects of the scale that have been shortlisted are often complex and susceptible to delays, which can hold back the supply of new housing. The cause of delay is often the cost of building new streets and infrastructure, clearing sites and combining land into a single ownership; all of which will be addressed by the projects shortlisted today.

Final amounts to be awarded to the four estates are still subject to final contract negotiations and may change. But Notting Hill Housing Trust have bid for £49.9m to accelerate the delivery of their master plan for the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, which will deliver around 3,500 new homes. In Barnet the Genesis Housing Association have bid for £56m to kickstart a programme to build 2161 new homes on the Grahame Park estate, which would mean the scheme can be completed six years ahead of schedule.

Two estates in Tower Hamlets are also in line for funding. Swan Housing Association have bid for £50m to speed up a programme to build 1575 new houses on the Blackwall Reach estate, which will mean they can be finished eighteen months ahead of schedule. On the New Union Wharf estate, East Thames Group have bid for £11.3m that will mean a 400 home scheme can be completed.

Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said that: “our long term economic plan for London involves preparing now for the infrastructure our capital might need in the future. That’s why I’ve said we should look at the case for Crossrail 2.” Further to that positive statement there was more good news in the Autumn Statement regarding plans for the Crossrail 2 rail link. The Mayor is already establishing talks with London’s boroughs and business leaders regarding the creation of a formal governance structure tasked with driving the scheme through to the creation of a formal rail operation. Today the Government confirmed £2m of funding that will be used to prepare a full business case for the scheme.

With London’s population set to increase by thirty seven per cent to more than eleven million people by 2050, Crossrail 2 would be a high-frequency, high-capacity rail line running through London and into Surrey and Hertfordshire that is regarded as vital for the capital. It would add much needed extra capacity to the rail network in London and the south east; and it would support economic regeneration by providing the infrastructure needed to build new homes and create more jobs.

It was also confirmed today that the Government will provide an extra £10m to help increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles in London, which will support the Mayor’s plan to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020. City Hall expect the funds to be used to help deliver new rapid charging outlets, electric buses and zero emission capable taxis.