Final agreement on the funding of Crossrail’s Woolwich station box was about to be signed off as NCE went to press.
The future of the station has been uncertain for over a year, since developer Berkeley Homes was hit by the economic downturn. The developer had promised to put £186M towards station box construction and planned to develop the space around it.
Berkeley is understood to have spent £5M on the station design but its finances suffered badly in the recession and it has since been attempting to renegotiate the extent of its funding commitments with Crossrail.
Crossrail chief executive Rob Holden told the London Assembly’s Transport Committee last week that Crossrail sponsors had been working “very hard” to agree the financial details of Berkeley Homes’ commitment. He said he expected that papers would be signed over the deal on Tuesday 8 February.
“I’m as confident as anybody can be that in the next week we can bring it to a successful conclusion,” he said.
The plan involved a 291m long by 23.5m wide and 17m deep box so that there is capability for a station on the route for Woolwich as well as creating 2,500 homes.
Agreement about who will finance the fit out of the box and build the station at ground level has also yet to be reached.
Long-time backer of the station, MP for Greenwich & Woolwich Nick Raynsford is anxious for news. This week he challenged transport secretary Philip Hammond for an update. Hammond is due to answer Raynsford’s request for information today.
Delays to the funding deal had caused Crossrail to accommodate changes in the schedule, said Holden. But he said that the government review of the scheme and subsequent plan to postpone the opening of the route meant that the opening schedule of the “limbs” surrounding the central section had still to be confirmed.
The central section is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2018 – a year later than originally planned. This means it is likely that the remainder of the route will be opened in 2019.
Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan added that investigations into the potential for a station at Kensal Green in west London were still ongoing and that a decision would be made in the next few months.
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is lobbying for the station to be built. Network Rail is leading this work and is looking at the implications of building the station against criteria set by London mayor Boris Johnson, said Morgan.
These are that the station must be delivered at no additional cost, that it has no effect on the timetable and that work causes no construction delays.
Morgan added that several complications in that area of west London have yet to be resolved, particularly with the proposed use of Old Oak Common as an interchange between Crossrail and High Speed 2. Consultation on the route of High Speed 2 opens this month.