Former local government chief Sir Merrick Cockell has been put in charge of maximising the benefits of Crossrail 2.
He was named as chairman of a new Crossrail 2 Growth Commission by London mayor Boris Johnson.
The move came as business and construction leaders urged the government to find funding for the proposed cross-London line in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.
Johnson said: “Major projects take time to plan and prepare and, with Crossrail 1 nearing completion, we must move quickly to the next transformational growth project, which could see even more benefits delivered.
“Crossrail 2 will support up to 200,000 more homes and jobs, adding billions of pounds to the national economy and ensuing a prosperous future for the whole country.”
Cockell was chairman of the Local Government Association from 2011 to 2014. He said: “This new railway is imperative to the future growth of the capital and across the UK, and the Growth Commission will play a key role in helping ensure local development plans along the route meet their full potential.”
More than 50 senior figures signed the open letter to chancellor George Osborne.They included High Speed 1 chairman Rob Holden, Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds and Turner & Townsend chief executive Vincent Clancy. Full text can be seen below.
Letter from business leaders to the Times
We welcome the chancellor’s long-term economic plan for London, and its commitment to provide essential investment for the modernisation of Tube, rail, bus and road networks. But with London set to grow rapidly, these improvements alone will not be enough.
Now that Crossrail, Europe’s largest engineering project, is nearing completion, on time and to budget, we must rapidly move forward with Crossrail 2. It will unlock land for up to 200,000 new homes, with a matching number of new jobs, adding up to £7.9bn a year to London’s economy and promoting growth nationally.
We were encouraged by the government’s past commitment to push forward with Crossrail 2 and the chancellor’s call to “get the idea off the page and into construction”. We urge him to use the comprehensive spending review to provide the development funding necessary to design Crossrail 2 so that trains can start running by 2030.
Earlier this year, the government announced plans to safeguard from development a preferred route for Crossrail 2 from Wimbledon, south-west London to Tottenham Hale and New Southgate in north-east London.