Our Crossrail branch will get the go ahead

PUBLISHED: 11:38 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 25 August 2010

The threatened south-eastern branch of the £16 billion Crossrail network is now safe according to a key investor.

The threatened south-eastern branch of the £16 billion Crossrail network is now safe according to a key investor.

Chairman of Berkeley Homes Urban Renaissance, John Anderson, told the Times on Tuesday that a deal to secure the future of the south-eastern branch, including stations at Abbey Wood and Woolwich Arsenal is close to agreement and that the contract should be signed in three weeks.

Bosses at Berkeley Homes had promised to fund construction of the station box at Woolwich Arsenal, the only privately-funded stop along the network worth £186 million, as well as developing the space outside the station.

But fears for the completion scheme arose due to the company suffering during the recession because they would not be able to match the promised funding.

This along, with speculative government cuts, raised concern that the south-eastern section of the network would be scrapped, meaning the stations at Abbey Wood, Woolwich and Maidestone would not go ahead.

Mr Anderson said: "We are still negotiating the final terms and we are hoping it can be released in the next few weeks.

"The main offerings we are hearing from ministers is that Crossrail is going ahead and that it is not going to be affected by a the spending review.

"In terms of the Woolwich Arsenal station, we think we are safe. We have reached agreement with the London Development Agency, Greenwich council and various transport departments and Transport for London, in finding a way through. Barclays have added more money and we are looking at cost savings.

"Our concern was that the government was going to cut the south-eastern leg of the route from Custom House to Abbey Wood."

The company have already spent £5 million on the design of the station at Woolwich Arsenal which involves a 291 metre long by 23.5 wide and 17 metre deep box to house it. Original plans also included building 2,500 homes.

Mr Anderson said that neither he nor any other business partners involved were prepared to talk figures at this stage.

He did confirm that Berkeley Homes was not the sole funder of the station at Woolwich Arsenal.

A Department of Transport spokesperson said a number of ministers have been working with partners to reach value for money.

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