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Railway arches to be transformed

A £20 million plan to transform the railway viaducts which carve through SE1 has been unveiled.

Light at the End of the Tunnel is a plan by the Cross River Partnership to transform the viaducts running from Vauxhall to Bermondsey.

The viaducts carry South Western main line services into Waterloo, and South Eastern services from Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

The partnership claims that many of the tunnels and arches under the viaducts are dank, dark areas which are effectively no-go zones after dark.

The partnership points out that many of the arches stand empty, and will seek to make better use of them as business units.

Over the next ten years the CRP will co-ordinate the transformation of the viaduct, focusing on improving the tunnels and opening up the space around them.

Opening up the area will unleash enormous inward investment potential as full use of all the possible units from Vauxhall to Bermondsey could retain or create up to 12,000 jobs in an area of central London badly in need of economic development.

CRP has already completed an audit of all 97 arches between Vauxhall and Bermondsey and drawn up an action plan. Work has already started on some of the tunnels and arches.

CRP is an alliance of members on both sides of the river in central London. Its work strengthens links between the communities and places on both sides of the river. Recent projects include the new Golden Jubilee and Millennium footbridges, new transport links as well as development of The London Tram.

Light at the End of the Tunnel will see both sides of the river working together, with Network Rail and Transport for London acting as lead partners as well as Westminster, Southwark and Lambeth councils.

The project has the backing of some of the most influential groups in London, including the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Joanna Averley of CABE said: "The viaduct is an important part of London's architectural and industrial heritage, presenting and opportunity and a challenge. Its imaginative refurbishment should contribute to the vibrant mix of uses along the South Bank and improve pedestrian connections."

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