Boris’s latest Crossrail cash grab will hit Elephant regeneration says Southwark

Southwark Council has warned that Boris Johnson's proposals to raise £300 million towards the cost of Crossrail from a community infrastructure levy could seriously reduce the amount of development, including affordable housing, at Elephant & Castle.

Boris’s latest Crossrail cash grab will hit Elephant regeneration says Southwark

Last month the Mayor of London launched a consultation on proposals to charge developers in every London borough a levy towards the cost of building the new east-west rail link.

Southwark and Lambeth both fall in the middle band of the Mayor's proposed charging scale. Developers will be asked for contributions of £35 per square metre. The charge will be £50 in the capital's most affluent boroughs and £10 in those least likely to benefit from Crossrail.

The Mayor hopes to raise £600 million towards the £14.5 billion Crossrail project from new development in the capital.

Mr Johnson's target of£300 million from the community infrastructure levy (CIL) on most development types across London is in addition to the £300 million from section 106 agreements from office developments in central London.

Southwark Council will this week write Mr Johnson to warn him of their strong concerns about the levy's impact on the borough and to ask that the Elephant & Castle be exempted from the Crossrail levy.

"In particular we are very concerned about the impact of the proposals on delivery of the regeneration of Elephant & Castle," says Cllr Fiona Colley, Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration, in a letter to be sent to City Hall this week.

"This was acknowledged by the panel of the London Plan Crossrail Alterations examination in public that recommended the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area be excluded from Crossrail contributions, to allow essential investment in the road network and station.

"Transport for London (TfL) estimates an investment of £160 million is required for the station and a further £40 million for road network changes. TfL have not allocated any funding towards this.

"Funding will therefore need to come from development. Without this infrastructure, regeneration and growth of the area will be jeopardised, including the delivery of the London Plan opportunity area targets for new homes and jobs."

Cllr Colley argues that other more local transport improvements – such as the Cross River Tram or an alternative and a southern extension of the Bakerloo line – should take priority over Crossrail when it comes to contributions from developers in Southwark.

She goes on to highlight the levy's likely impact on housing: "The imposition of the CIL charge will place a further cost on housing development, reducing the viable percentage of affordable housing that can be supported by development schemes. This will impact on our ability to meet the growing need for affordable homes across Southwark."

Southwark Council also objects to the flat fee being levied across the borough, which it says fails to take account of the difference in land values between London Bridge and areas like Walworth and Peckham.

The Mayor's consultation on the CIL proposals runs until 1 March.

"There is no underestimating how important Crossrail is to the future of this great city," said Boris Johnson last month.

"Every corner of London will benefit once construction is complete and despite the current financial pressures, I am committed to ensuring London meets its fair share of the cost.

"It is right that the sector that will benefit so much should make its contribution and I am confident that this will not hinder development in the capital.

"However, through this important consultation I want to ensure we have heard and considered every point of view."

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