Friday, January 28, 2011

Woolwich Crossrail- What's the hold-up?

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that potential bureaucratic problems were putting the Woolwich Crossrail station project at risk. The story said construction must begin within the next six days if the station is to be ready in time to connect with the rest of the network. However, "officials from the Department for Transport and Transport for London are yet to sign off on the project ".

Under the terms of an agreement with Berkeley homes, they will fund the £100m cost of creating the shell of the station, with Greenwich Council funding its fitting-out. It is not clear from this story where exactly the problem is, but the Department for Transport was quoted as saying "Progress continues to be made, with final resolution of the issues expected shortly,”

At Wednesday night's Council meeting I asked Councillor Peter Brooks, Deputy Leader of the Council, if he could shed any light on the situation, and what part we were playing in resolving it. He replied that in the absence of Council Leader Chris Roberts, he was unable to give an answer, but would have officers write to me. I have just received their response:

"It would appear that the reported story concerns anxieties to address some of the detailed agreements between Crossrail, TfL and the constructors in time to hit the construction programme. The Council has been in close touch with all parties, who believe that these details are in the process of being resolved, and this is expected shortly."

Not hugely revealing, and there is still no hint of the exact nature of the obstacle. I am told I will get a fuller report "early next week", but that, according to the reports, is the deadline for agreement to be reached. Given the importance to the Borough of getting the station built, I certainly hope the Council is doing all it can to help reach a deal, but if so, they're not saying a great deal at the moment.

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