Devolution of rail services could accelerate London housebuilding

Posted 19 October 2016 by Ben Salisbury

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has outlined how the devolution of suburban London rail services could speed up the building of 80,000 new homes...

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan MP, has outlined a proposal for rail devolution that could accelerate the building of up to 80,000 new homes in and around London.

Khan has presented his proposal to the Secretary of State for Transport in which he outlines the business case for the further devolution of London’s suburban rail services to Transport for London (TfL) which could lead to all of the new homes being built within 1km of stations that use the newly-devolved lines.

He sets out how the plan could provide a better integrated and more reliable rail network to help improve the commute of people who travel to stations like London Bridge and Waterloo and how this could dovetail with the development of thousands of new homes and jobs in outer London as a catalyst for further regeneration.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today’s business case sets out in detail the huge benefits Londoners will feel from devolving suburban rail routes to TfL. Our plans will improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners, [and] act as a catalyst for new jobs and homes in outer London.” 

The proposals could have the biggest impact for housebuilding in South London where housebuilding rates are less than half the rest of London, mainly due to poorer transport connections.

Improvements in the quality of rail services in South London would help accelerate the building of these homes. In the evidence supplied to the Outer London Commission, Kingston, Sutton and Croydon councils all stated that ‘poor transport infrastructure seriously limits the scope for growth’ in their areas.

The proposals have support in and around London from MPs, the London Assembly, London Councils and Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire Councils.

Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “We have worked hard to deliver better services for our customers on the rail services we control, delivering major improvements and greater reliability. We have taken neglected parts of the transport network and transformed them to support new homes, jobs and economic growth across the Capital.”

Cllr Claire Kober OBE, Chair of London Councils said: “The transfer of rail services to Transport for London cannot come soon enough for Londoners who have had to put up with poor rail services for too long. The devolution of responsibility for the existing London Overground network and TfL Rail has shown that it unlocks the potential to integrate transport planning to boost housebuilding and local economies.”

The DfT’s timetable for existing franchises means that southeast London suburban services could be transferred when the current franchise ends in 2018, followed by southwest London suburban services in 2020 once capacity works at Waterloo are complete.

Suburban services running to London Bridge and Victoria serving south central London, and to Moorgate serving parts of north London, would transfer when that current franchise ends in September 2021.


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