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Transport vital to London regeneration effort says mayor

Johnson says new projects are essential if he is to meet housing target.

New transport infrastructure is vital to efforts to build much needed housing stock in London’s most neglected areas, senior politicians and business leaders said this week.

London mayor Boris Johnson said planned transport infrastructure schemes were key to him delivering on his pledge to get 42,000 homes built each year over the next decade.

“Transport schemes allow us to unlock housing potential in previously undeveloped sites,” he said at the Mipim property fair in Cannes.

Johnson name-checked a number of upcoming schemes that he said would be key to his plan. He said work is set to begin next year on the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, south London. It will be Britain’s first tax increment financed scheme. Johnson added that later this year planning permission would be sought for Crossrail 2.

London deputy mayor for planning Sir Edward Lister agreed that transport was vital to unlocking new housing developments.

He said the 42,000 homes targeted by Johnson were within 37 neglected areas.

“These areas missed every single boom in property over recent years,” Lister said.

“It’s an infrastructure deficit - and transport is usually the number one issue.”

London Chamber of Commerce chief executive Colin Stanbridge said political stalling over transport infrastructure decisions had to stop.

“It should be obvious to everybody that without transport infrastructure London’s place as a world class city is under threat,” he said.

Stanbridge said that Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy had to spend too much time lobbying government to get schemes through “when he should be concentrating on how our buses and trains are being run”.

“It’s actually outrageous,” he added. “We need a different [funding] settlement for London to stop that.”

Newham Council chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry said building transport infrastructure was “all about jobs and growth”, and added that there was a “huge amount of work and a huge amount of lobbying to get the schemes built”.

Johnson stressed that, when built, the new homes had to be made available to Londoners. To do that he urged developers to stop marketing London property exclusively abroad.

“There’s never been a more difficult or challenging time to get on the property ladder,” he said.

“These homes are not there as a new kind of asset class, like old masters or diamonds or bullion. They are there as part of the living infrastructure of the city. Londoners depend on them. Our economy depends on them.”

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