Major Government Commission backs the C2E campaign as a top infrastructure priority
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 June 2018
Demands to extend Crossrail to Ebbsfleet are gaining further momentum following recommendations from government to approve the plans.
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission – appointed by government to direct transformative investment in the Thames Estuary – yesterday (25 June) recommended extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet in Kent.
In its report, which caps off two years’ work, the commission highlights Crossrail to Ebbsfleet as a top priority that should be delivered in the 2020s, and calls on government to quickly make available around £20m for the next phase of planning and development work.
Speaking in Purfleet at the launch of the report Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Estuary Commission, set out his 2050 Vision report and highlighted the challenge of delivering ‘more than business as usual’ through a set of five ‘connected economies’.
Opening the launch, James Brokenshire MP, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, said that he welcomed the commission’s vision and the positive potential that had been identified to generate homes and jobs across the Gateway.
Responding to the report, leader of Bexley Council Teresa O’Neill said: “This is a big day for Bexley’s Crossrail to Ebbsfleet Campaign.
“Sir John’s commission has seen the sense and urgency of finishing the job on Crossrail to ensure its benefits reach all parts of the Thames Estuary.
“It is great to see that the commission supports C2E as one of its priorities and is suggesting to government that we now need the tools to deliver this programme in the 2020s – including £20m funding to progress the next phase.”
Government is already said to be warming to the idea of backing the extension to support new housing and jobs in South East London and North Kent, and to connect the Crossrail network to HS1 destinations across Kent.
It will now need to respond formally to Sir John’s report.
Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council said: “The commission’s report recognises the huge economic and growth potential of the Thames Gateway and Sir John’s support for a step change in infrastructure investment and connectivity is both timely and welcome.
“Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet and completing the vitally needed missing link to HS1 from Abbey Wood is long overdue.
“This connection would provide new routes and rail capacity across Kent and into London, establishing vital new inter-connections between Kent’s rail network and key London hubs like Canary Wharf.”
It is expected that funding to support C2E may form part of a future Thames Estuary Growth and Infrastructure deal in the Autumn.