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Council launches campaign to extend Crossrail to Southend-on-Sea

A council campaign to get Crossrail extended to Southend and for a further river crossing east of the Lower Thames crossing has been kick-started.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has unveiled its five-year draft plan outlining its ambitions for the region, featuring the launch of a campaign to extend the Elizabeth Line alongside a number of other schemes to boost rail, roads, schools, homes and health services.

The draft plan, due to be debated by the cabinet next on 6 November, outlines the campaign for the extension for the £15.4bn east-west train line to Southend-on-Sea.

The project has already been hit by several delays, with its launch delayed by nine months after major setbacks to station infrastructure and signalling.

The company said the revised schedule was necessary to “ensure a safe and reliable railway for customers from day one of passenger service.”

Last week, the government gave Crossrail a £350m short-term loan in order to prevent it from falling further behind schedule and “ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail,” with TfL and the DfT commissioning an independent review of Crossrail’s governance and its financial and commercial position.

The deputy leader of Southend council, James Courtenay, said the five-year plan set out clear ambitions and direction for the council and region.

He said: “We know that Southend-on-Sea and south Essex as a whole is going to grow in the future, and we are working with council across south Essex on that.

“It will bring numerous economic and social benefits to the area. 

“However, we are also adamant that this must be infrastructure led and that is why we are planning to campaign for a road to the east and aim to secure funding for it by 2023, call for Crossrail to be extended to Southend-on-Sea and also help make the case for a further river crossing to the east of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.”

The cabinet will be asked to approve the draft documents and refer them to all three November scrutiny documents, with the Crossrail lobbying planned to start next year.

Image credit - BerndBrueggemann

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