Fares, rail policy and DfT news

26.03.19

Government indicates support for Crossrail to Ebbsfleet extension with £5m feasibility funding

The government has indicated it is open to an extension of the delayed Crossrail project to Ebbsfleet, with £5m committed to help fund preparations for the new route in a  “landmark moment” for Bexley and north west Kent.

In a written ministerial statement, communities secretary James Brokenshire announced that he was backing the 2050 vision for the Thames Estuary which includes plans to create 1.3 million new jobs and commits £4.85m to develop transport services in the area.

As part of the government’s response to the flagship Thames Estuary Commission, he confirmed support for a new governance body, a new masterplan for the Estuary and investment in new jobs and homes in the area.

Brokenshire’s announcement will see £4.85m made available for a study into options for delivering transport enhancements between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet, which is the route of the proposed extension.

The funding will enable detailed feasibility, funding and viability work to take place on the scheme to extend Crossrail to Ebbsfleet which has been widely supported by businesses, campaigners and the local council.

Bexley Council welcomed the news, stating it had opened the way for a Crossrail extension which it said will transform connectivity in the area and transform 10-miles of under-used housing land on the London/Kent border into new homes and employment sites.

The leader of the local authority, Teresa O’Neill, stated: “Today’s announcement is a landmark moment for Bexley.

“It means that central government has endorsed Sir John Armitt’s view of the Thames Estuary, and sees the potential of finishing the job of connecting Crossrail to HS1 – between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet.

“This is the critical infrastructure project for the Gateway. This funding means that we can we can get on with work to realise Crossrail’s true potential for our borough and the whole Thames Gateway.

She added that the council will “waste no time” in moving forwards with a business case.

The C2E campaign alliance has been calling for the government to support the extension for years, and today its chairman Paul Moore said: “Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is at the heart of the Thames Gateway’s future prosperity.

“Today moves us closer to unlocking 10 miles of unmatched growth potential on the edge of London, and the next stage in transforming connectivity for the area.

“Government has today firmly recognised the vast potential of Bexley and North West Kent as a Growth Corridor.”

Image credit - Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/PA Images

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