Anyone who has set foot onto the cobbled streets of our Capital recently will not have failed to notice the surge in hard hats, cranes and traffic diversions now adorning pockets of the city, from East to West. With the construction of Crossrail, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, having reached the halfway stage and property prices flourishing as a result, the Crossrail effect looks set to be a positive one as an increase in connectivity and capacity opens up the possibility for investment in new parts of London.
We’ve all heard about Crossrail, but what do we know of its lesser-known younger brother, Crossrail 2, or, as it was originally commissioned, the Chelsea-Hackney Line?
What a lot of people don’t know is that Crossrail 2 was commissioned by the Government at the same time as Crossrail 1 back in 1989 as a way of addressing overcrowding in London’s bloated transport network. Although a safeguarding direction for the Chelsea-Hackney line was issued by the Secretary of State for Transport in 1991, protecting the route from conflicting development, Crossrail 2 was then relegated to the bottom of the pile. Only Crossrail 1 was taken through to the next round.
It was only in 2008 that the Government woke up and smelt the economic benefits of Crossrail 2. The Safeguarding Direction was re-issued and a consultation was run in the summer of last year to get an idea of what the people in Greater London thought about a potential Crossrail 2. After a resoundingly positive response to a route which would see an underground tunnel being built between Wimbledon in the South and Alexandra Palace in the North, a second consultation was run in June of this year to discuss alignment options for the preferred route. Until the proposed route is finalised in the next few years, Crossrail will continue to retain responsibility for the Chelsea-Hackney safeguarded route.
Why should this matter to me?
Although the final preferred route is unlikely to be approved by Parliament and settled until 2017, safeguarding already protects the original route. This means that it is now appearing on local land charges searches and causing difficulties for those affected both in terms of obtaining planning permission for development and in respect of obtaining a mortgage or selling a property. Boroughs have raised particular concern about the impacts of safeguarding listed buildings and conservation areas and the impact that this is likely to have on development proposals in certain neighbourhoods and communities.
How do I know if my property is affected?
A postcode search on the Crossrail website will determine whether your property is within the safeguarded route. To find out if the exact address is caught by safeguarding it is worth contacting the helpdesk team, as the property may actually be adjacent to the route but outside of the limits of the search. In any event, it is vital to remember that it is currently under review and any revised safeguarded zone is likely to include new land, as well as release some of the land currently in the zone. Until then, property owners in and around the proposed route can only wait and see.
This post was edited by Caroline Pierce. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.