Hopes raised for extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet

PUBLISHED: 09:41 27 March 2019

Crossrail's Elizabeth Line construction in 2017 nearing completion beneath Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Crossrail's Elizabeth Line construction in 2017 nearing completion beneath Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Since it was announced, campaigners have wanted to extend the new Crossrail transport system to Ebbsfleet, and it could now happen.

Bexley Council says it welcomes a new government pledge to examine the business case for continuing the line into Kent and is making cash available.

The government has committed £4.85m to help fund preparations for the widely supported scheme.

Bexley Council’s leader says the news the government is funding exploratory work on transport links between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet – the route of the planned extension - is to be welcomed with open arms.

In a written ministerial statement, housing secretary James Brokenshire confirmed the funding as part of Government’s response to the flagship Thames Estuary Commission.

The council said this will undo the 2008 decision to shorten Crossrail’s south-east branch.

The resource will enable detailed feasibility, funding and viability work to take place on the scheme – which would transform connectivity over 10 miles of under-used housing land on the London/Kent border along the safeguarded route from Abbey Wood, including planning new homes and employment sites.

Speaking after the announcement, council leader Teresa O’Neill, said:

“This is a landmark moment for Bexley. It means that central government has endorsed Sir John Armitt’s view of the Thames Estuary, and sees the potential of finishing the job of connecting Crossrail to HS1 – between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet.

“This is the critical infrastructure project for the Gateway. This funding means that we can we can get on with work to realise Crossrail’s true potential for our borough and the whole Thames Gateway. We will waste no time in moving forwards.”

Chairman of the C2E Campaign alliance, Paul Moore, added: “Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is at the heart of the Thames Gateway’s future prosperity.”

When delivered, C2E will provide a huge boost in connectivity for some of the UK’s most economically challenged areas.

The council said when completed, C2E will link Ebbsfleet to City Airport, Canary Wharf, the City, West End and Heathrow, as envisaged in the original 1980s plan for Crossrail.

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