Study shows Nine Elms tube link viable

Published: Friday 5th November 10

Major landowners and council leaders in Londons Nine Elms area say a possible Northern Line extension to Battersea Power Station could be funded largely from developer contributions and would provide an economic windfall for the entire area.

The inaugural meeting of the Nine Elms and Vauxhall Strategy Board heard that a study commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) had put the total cost for new infrastructure at £1bn of which some £900m was directly attributable to development in the area with the tube link accounting for some £560m, this being funded in part by developer contributions the level of which is currently being considered by the planning authorities concerned.

The Mayor of London's Deputy for Planning, Housing and Sustainable Development, Sir Simon Milton, said: "The Mayor would be thrilled if private funding can be obtained to extend the Northern Line to Battersea as it would be a massive win for the whole area. As well as the obvious financial and congestion relieving benefits of extending the Tube we could also expect to see a package of spin off improvements to local facilities such as schools and healthcare. We've had a long hard look at figures in the study and they confirm that an extension should be viable. There's still a lot of work to do in working up a final tariff for developers but this important project could be set to take another step forward."

St James Group Managing Director Sean Ellis, speaking on behalf of the landowners, said: "There's a terrific spirit of cooperation between the public and private sector. We needed to know that the Northern Line Extension could work alongside all the other new facilities needed in the area. This study has given all the landowners confidence that they can press ahead with their plans for the largest regeneration area in central London."

Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister said: "We are committed to bringing the tube to Battersea. It's the single biggest ingredient in ensuring the success of Nine Elms as a vibrant place where people want to live and work. The level of support from all sides is unprecedented - there's a real eagerness now to get started on this exciting new part of town."

Lambeth Council cabinet member for regeneration, planning, employment and enterprise Sally Prentice said: "It's vital for us that the Northern Line Extension can help to tackle the problems already experienced on the Northern Line by people coming up on that line from Clapham and Stockwell. We will be looking at all the ways in which existing communities in the wider area can benefit from investment in new infrastructure including much-needed improvements at Vauxhall."

The first Strategy Board meeting was attended by all the main landowners in the Nine Elms and Vauxhall area - Ballymore, St James Group, Covent Garden Market Authority, National Grid, Royal Mail, Sainsbury's plc and Treasury Holdings.

The remaining board members - Wandsworth and Lambeth councils, Transport for London and the Mayor of London - were also represented.

The GLA's planning framework for the area sets out plans for up to 16,000 new homes and 25,000 new jobs. The findings from the development infrastructure funding study (DIFS) will now be incorporated into the framework which will be the subject of further consultation between now and the end of the year.

The study shows that after including contributions from all sources towards the total infrastructure costs the final amount left to find falls to £58m. The Strategy Board will now explore possible ways of filling this gap.

The councils will also examine the potential for tax incremental financing to provide funding in the early phases of development.

The study was commissioned by the GLA, TfL, Wandsworth and Lambeth councils and the landowners. It was prepared by Roger Tym and Partners, Peter Brett Associates and GVA Grimley.

It concluded that as well as the Northern Line extension the area would require two new primary schools, expansion of secondary schools, 11 new GPs, new police and fire facilities, community facilities, play space and green space.

The DIFS study is available at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/difs.

An application for a Transport and Works Act order for the Northern Line extension is now expected in October 2011.

The Nine Elms and Vauxhall area covers 227 hectares and is the largest development opportunity close to the centre of London.

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