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London mayor Boris Johnson makes developers pay for Crossrail

New changes to the London Plan to make new developments pay contributions to the cost of Crossrail have been published today, with a ‘pragmatic’ get-out clause for those in financial difficulty.

However, the plans now include a ‘viability test’, that will give developers the chance to negotiate the final fee they pay, to mitigate the effects of the recession.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Crossrail is vital for the future of the capital. It will transform our transport network and ensure London emerges strongly from the current economic downturn.

“I have listened carefully to the views and concerns of developers over contributions to this crucial venture and I am committed to taking a wholly pragmatic approach in future negotiations and will consider every case individually.

“It is important that we now move forward and ensure that those new developments which benefit most from Crossrail can contribute their fare share,” he said.

The Mayor’s office has consulted with the London Assembly, the Greater London Authority Group, and developers and local authorities since December. As a result of developers’ concerns, the proposals now include viability as a planning policy test for negotiating financial contributions to Crossrail.

The Mayor is also seeking views on whether it would be appropriate to have a lower rate of contribution during the first years of the charging scheme.

He has also written to Transport secretary Geoff Hoon to ask for contributions from developments around Crossrail stations beyond the London boundary.

Changes to the London Plan for Crossrail funding should be complete by mid 2010. To date the Mayor has been accepting Crossrail contributions of around 20% of the eventual charge that will be applied to individual developments. In the run up to formally changing the London Plan, the Mayor would like to see contributions agreed at a higher rate.

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