Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Fast Tracks to Europe Alliance (IT 67)

THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER

SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION, KEY POINTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  FTEA brings together the Thames Gateway London and North Kent Partnerships, Dartford Borough Council, Kent County Council, London Borough of Newham, London Borough of Camden and London First.

  Outside the capital it includes Birmingham City Council, Cheshire County Council, Glasgow City Council, the Channel Tunnel Initiative, the North West Regional Association, Kent and Essex County Councils, Ipswich Borough Council, Milton Keynes, Watford, The City of York and Doncaster councils. Over one hundred businesses and chambers of commerce are members of the Alliance.

  FTEA has been campaigning for the completion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in its entirety along the agreed route. FTEA has consistently argued that the real benefits of the Link lie in the regeneration of Thames Gateway, East and North London and in connecting the regions to Europe.

  FTEA welcomed the recent announcement by John Prescott as a demonstration of the Government's continued commitment to building the whole of the Link and to the development of regional Eurostar services.

  FTEA welcomes A New Deal for Transport and in particular the Government's commitment to the integration of different types of transport and to the integration of transport with land use planning.

  FTEA believes that the Channel Tunnel High Speed Rail Link (CTRL) is a positive example of the benefits of an integrated transport policy. It is sustainable, cuts road traffic and air pollution, and meets all the Government's integrated transport policies objectives. This theme is developed later in the submission.

  The benefits of CTRL for the regeneration of East London and Kent have long been recognised. In 1991 Sir Bob Reid stated in a letter to Malcolm Rifkind that:

    "The easterly route offers substantial new development opportunities. It will open up the prospect of major development and employment which . . . I have no doubt will be welcomed by the people of East London and those living in the Lower Thames area".

  More recently, Glenda Jackson, the Minister for Transport in London, stated in the Commons that:

    "That the key reason for routing it via the Thames Gateway—also known as the East Thames Corridor—was that stations along it would act as focal points for regeneration".

  FTEA welcomes the Government's recognition that CTRL is crucial to the future prosperity of East London and of UK plc as a whole.

  The present position with CTRL highlights the complex nature of transport decision making. The Government has acted boldly and creatively to underpin the CTRL project and the White Paper identifies some of the measures in the overall development and funding package which are needed to ensure that the project goes ahead.

  However, the CTRL is now in two phases, which creates uncertainty for the key regeneration areas along the route in Kent, London and in the regions. The doubts now surrounding the implementation of the White Paper serve to increase this uncertainty, and hesitation can only undermine the achievement of an integrated and sustainable transport system in which the CTRL is a positive example.

  Recommendation 1. FTEA believes that the Committee should press the Government to continue to do all in its powers to ensure that the northern section of CTRL is built along the agreed route without delay.

  FTEA believes that the CTRL experience offers the Committee some valuable insights into the practical difficulties associated with creating an integrated transport policy. Based on the CTRL experience FTEA recommends that the Committee adopts the following additions and amendments to the White Paper:

  Recommendation 2. The White paper recommends that the Strategic Rail Authority should "ensure that rail transport options are assessed in a way which constitutes good value for money and optimise social and environmental gains". FTEA believes that in making such assessments the Strategic Rail Authority should have a specific responsibility to take into account the regeneration benefits of new rail schemes.

  Recommendation 3. In assessing the regeneration benefits of new rail schemes the Strategic Rail Authority should also take into account the cost implications of delaying or not pursuing a particular project.

  Recommendation 4. The White Paper recommends that the Strategic Rail Authority should "take a view of on the capacity of the railway, assess investment needs, and identify priorities where operators' aspirations may conflict with one another". FTEA believes that in assessing such conflicts the Strategic Rail Authority should have a specific responsibility to take account of the wider regeneration and public policy implications of differing projects.

  Recommendation 5. Before proceeding further with the Heathrow/Waterloo Eurostar link the Government should consult with FTEA and other organisations affected on the regeneration impacts of such a development.

  Recommendation 6. CTRL demonstrates the benefits of creating new rail freight opportunities. FTEA believes that the sections of the White Paper relating to freight need to be strengthened in order that the nation can benefit further from railfreight opportunities.

  Recommendation 7. The Commission for Integrated Transport should be given a specific responsibility to investigate the problem of blight to local communities caused by the exceptionally long lead in time to major rail projects and to advise the Government on ways in which such blight can be mitigated.

  Recommendation 8. Pending the creation of the Commission for Integrated Transport the Government should work with local authorities to develop a programme of short and medium-term measures that will encourage investor confidence in the CTRL project and ensure the momentum for development is not lost.

SECTION TWO: THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN DETAIL

  Recommendation 1. FTEA believes that the Committee should press the Government to continue to do all in its powers to ensure that the northern section of CTRL is built along the agreed route without delay.

  The CTRL is major transport infrastructure project that demonstrates many of the key themes of the White Paper. It gives real meaning to the idea of integrated and sustainable transport by:

(a) Freeing up capacity for railfreight to take HGVs off the roads

  The White Paper acknowledges that poor infrastructure hinders efficient freight movement and supports the transfer to sustainable transport modes. The dedicated tracks for CTRL will free up the existing network and create significantly greater capacity for slower freight trains. This is in addition to the high speed, light freight that will use the Link.

(b) Releasing domestic lines for improved passenger services

  Domestic passengers from Kent will gain from new high-speed commuter services into London on CTRL as well as better local services on the existing network. These new services will attract users away from their cars.

  The new stations at Stratford and St Pancras will ensure the best passenger interconnections and dispersal, and provide the train paths and platforms needed when Waterloo reaches overcapacity in 2006. In doing so they will maximise passenger attraction, growth and revenues.

(c) Providing access to Europe, especially for the regions

  The second phase of the CTRL from northwest Kent through Stratford to St Pancras not only provides greater capacity for European connections servicing the South East, but also connects the regions to Europe. Access to Europe is seen by key agencies in the Midlands and the north as fundamental to economic growth and the concept of UK plc.

(d) Creating direct interchange with Underground, bus and main line transport systems

  The CTRL domestic services to Stratford and St Pancras will provide excellent connections with London's public transport systems.

  The multi-modal strengths of the St Pancras/King's Cross interchange will be enhanced by the connections with Thameslink services, especially when upgraded by the new station at King's Cross. This station is enabled and built by the CTRL, but is key to the Thameslink 2000 project which connects the South East region comprehensively through London.

  Vital London Underground improvements are also contingent upon the CTRL development at Stratford and St Pancras, as a further major ingredient in the integrated transport system for London and the South East.

(e) Providing an alternative to congested and polluting air travel

  Eurostar services are testimony to the alternative to air travel provided by high speed train links. The European experience is that the high speed rail links will also carry those who would otherwise drive.

  Recommendation 2. The Strategic Rail Authority should have a specific responsibility to take into account the regeneration benefits of new rail schemes.

  The White paper recommends that the Strategic Rail Authority should "ensure that rail transport options are assessed in a way which constitutes good value for money and optimise social and environmental gains". However the White Paper does not specifically refer to the need to make an assessment of the economic, or regeneration, benefits of rail schemes.

  FTEA believes that there has been a serious underestimate of the regeneration benefits of CTRL which has distorted the views of opinion formers of the merits of the scheme.

  The sections below give examples of the employment and housing benefits of CTRL to East London and the indirect benefits to Kent of opening up domestic rail services.

  CTRL unlocks some of the largest urban regeneration sites in Europe. The potential of Stratford, King's Cross and the Thames Gateway areas along the route accumulates to over 100,000 jobs, not to mention a total 55,000 dwellings when Ebbsfleet is included.

  The St Pancras terminus alone releases a major inner-city site development potential for 13,500 jobs, 1,600 dwellings, and triggers £1 billion+ investment in the area as a whole.

  Such brownfield site recovery depends on CTRL coming to Stratford and St Pancras, while the connections to the Northeast and Northwest will provide significant additional economic benefits nationwide. Over £1 billion of regeneration benefits between the Channel and St Pancras have been identified by FTEA, and confirmed by the Government's own research.

  Until recently there was relatively little qualitative work undertaken on the impact of CTRL which was available in the public realm. The most substantive piece which had been conducted was carried out by the Department of Transport. The results were outlined in the "Explanatory Memorandum on Contracts with London and Continental Railways" which was produced in 1996. The 1996 figures are indicated in the table below.

Benefit1994-95 P's1 1997-98 P's1
£ million£ million

Increased value through time savings to international passengers 4,8005,280
Benefits to domestic rail operators arising from reserved capacity on CTRL 300330
Benefits to domestic passengers350 385
Regeneration benefits to Thames Gateway and east London 500550
Benefits from reduced road congestion100 110

Total6,0506,655

1 NPVs at 2/95 prices discounted to 1994-95. To estimate benefits in terms of current prices, we have taken the changes in the RPI and have increased the 1994-95 figure by 10 per cent.
Source: Berkeley Hanover Consulting Report on the benefits of CTRL to UK PLC for FTEA 1998.


  According to these figures only 10 per cent of the benefits from CTRL came from regeneration and environmental impacts. The same document indicated that within the Thames Gateway area a pessimistic assumption for the creation of jobs by CTRL would be in the figure of 50,000 jobs, whilst some DOE figures suggested that between 75,000-80,000 jobs could be created.

  FTEA believes that these figures were too low and gave a distorted picture of the full benefits of the scheme. FTEA therefore commissioned Berkeley Hanover Consulting (BHC) to conduct its own research on the regeneration impact of CTRL on UK plc and the areas along the CTRL route. According to the BHC research there are two key areas in which the CTRL aids regeneration in inner East London. They are employment and housing.

EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

  In 1996, the DOE estimated that the easterly route of CTRL could enhance development prospects to the extent of 75,000-80,000 jobs. It further estimated that the total regeneration benefits would be worth £500 million at 1994-95 prices. FTEA believes that these estimates were conservative.

  BHC estimated that a combined IPS/DPS would help to protect some 165,000 jobs in inner East London. This was based upon the premise that companies already in the area are unlikely to want to move out of London if CTRL guarantees them access to new business, new markets and a strengthened economic base. BHC also estimated that up to 119,000 new jobs could be created by an IPS/DPS station at Stratford.

  A joint London Planning Advisory Committee and Victor Hausner and Associates report (The LPAC/Hausner report) indicates that the IPS would bring major benefits to the large-scale regeneration potential which already exists at Stratford, The Royal Docks, the Isle of Dogs and the Greenwich Peninsular, the four major development zones. They argue that specific uses that trade under and "international" label would be attracted by the IPS. Such uses would include:

  "Exhibition facilities, major leisure draws, research and higher education facilities and the continued attraction of high profile companies to the Isle of Dogs. They go on to argue that at Stratford itself the key effect would be to attract activities that would act as catalyst to regeneration and create a critical mass."

  The report estimated the following number of jobs would be created at the Stratford Rail Lands.


By year20012006 20112015

Estimated jobs1,050 4,0009,00015,000

These figures exclude employment at the new station that may involve transferring existing staff rather than employing new staff. Estimates suggest that in the longer term the number of jobs may exceed 20,000 depending on the density of development.


  With regard to the domestic station, LPAC/Hausner argue it is likely to have strong benefits in attracting "mobile" employers to relocate to the four major development zones by the opening up of commuter labour markets. They go on to argue that other areas such as Canning Town, Plaistow, Bow Leyton, Walthamstow West and Tottenham Hale would also benefit.

  Inaction can have the opposite effect on employment. According to the LPAC/Hausner report the following decline in the employment base is likely to take place if the International Passenger Station/Domestic Passenger Station (IPS/DPS) is not built at Stratford.
Figures indicate 000s jobs

19911993 199620012006

Newham54.851.1 49.346.644.2
Hackney71.168.0 68.770.472.3
Waltham Forest51.649.0 49.149.048.6

Source: LPAC/Victor Hausner and Associates November 1993.


  However, since then work carried out by London East Training and Enterprise Council (LETEC) has indicated that the decline in the employment bases has been sharper than predicted in the LPAC/Hausner report.

HOUSING BENEFITS

  The second major regeneration benefit of IPS/DPS on CTRL at Stratford is housing. The Newham UDP indicates that between 1800-2000 residential units could be built within Stratford Rail Lands. This does not take account of potential mixed-use development including housing that could take place in the core of the Rail Lands. Neither does this figure take into account potential residential development on sites peripheral to the Railway Lands. The vast majority of this residential development will take place on Brownfield sites. This will bring back in to economic use some sites that have been vacant or underused for many years.

REGENERATION BENEFITS—CTRL AND DOMESTIC PASSENGER SERVICES IN KENT

  New transport links do more than create opportunities for the growth of local business and the creation of new jobs. They also extend travel to work areas and in doing so alter local economies.

  With the recently completed M20/A20 between Dover and the M25, together with the July announcement in the Strategic Roads Review that key sections of the A2/M2 will be built in the next seven years, Kent will have an extensive road network.

  In comparison, the rail service to and from Kent is still extremely poor. The introduction of new rolling stock is a very slow process and trains, over 30-years-old with slam doors, will still be running into the next century on the longer distance routes in Kent. More importantly, the journey times between Kent's towns and London are poor compared to the rest of the country.

  Trains between the depressed Thanet area in East Kent and London take around two hours, although the distance is only some 75 miles. To put this into perspective, in the same time it is possible to travel from London to Lille by Eurostar, or to York or to Taunton.

  The CTRL is the vital link that will significantly improve the journey times and, therefore, accessibility between parts of East and North Kent and London. With the Link complete and new domestic trains built specially to operate on the CTRL, journey times to London will fall as follows:
Ramsgate115 minutes to80 minutes
Dover1 hour 50 minutes to1 hour 10 minutes
Ashford75 minutesto 40 minutes
Gravesend50 minutes to20 minutes
Canterbury90 minutes to55 minutes
Sittingbourne65 minutes to50 minutes


  With such reductions, commuting to London will become feasible from much of East Kent, dramatically changing both its image and its economy. The CTRL will also open up new connections to and from Kent. With the CTRL link to Stratford connections to the Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee Line, Central Line, regional services will be opened up. With the link to St Pancras/Kings Cross, ready access to the East Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line, Thameslink, six underground lines and Euston for West Coast Main Line will not be far away.

  Given the evidence above, FTEA believes that the new Strategic Rail Authority should be required to take these regeneration benefits into account when assessing new rail schemes.

REGENERATION BENEFITS—EBBSFLEET

  Ebbsfleet is the catalyst for the success of the vast regeneration project in Kent Thameside. It is an essential element in bringing about the expansion, modernisation and diversification of the economy of South East London and North Kent. It will enable the Government to meet policy objectives in terms of economic regeneration, job creation, sustainable development and integrated transport.

  Ebbsfleet will be one of the largest private sector initiatives of recent in the UK. The outline planning application provides for 790,000 square metres of floorspace, including up to 495,000 square metres of commercial floorspace and up to 3,200 new homes. As such, the site around Ebbsfleet station offers one of the biggest development opportunities in Europe. It is anticipated that the 25,000 new jobs will be created. It will bring about a fundamental change to the area's economic base in terms of both the quality and quantity of jobs created.

  The station at Ebbsfleet will also be a major public transport hub, linking in with existing and planned public transport routes. The density, mix and layout of the development are designed to maximise public transport usage and the project is therefore a major spur towards sustainable development.

  Recommendation 3. In assessing the regeneration benefits of new rail schemes the strategic Rail Authority should also take into account the cost implications of delaying or not pursuing a particular project.

  Successful regeneration is undermined by continued uncertainty for inward investors, while local residents and businesses carry on under the perceived unfairness of blight.

  FTEA estimates that the overall costs of not building the second phase of CTRL through to St Pancras would exceed the relevant CTRL project costs, in terms of major railway and Underground infrastructure maintenance, lost passenger usage and revenues, increased SRB area regeneration costs, heritage buildings viability, and lost employment and housing benefits.

  In Camden alone, delaying the second phase of CTRL without other actions until 2007 means:

    —  Permanent development of most (15 hectares) of the railway lands will be deferred for 10 years or more, pending clearance, decontamination and access works by the CTRL project, and new permanent roads, bridge(s), aggregates handling plant and other structures. Discussions with LCR about interim and permanent uses and infrastructure have already begun.

    —  Disruption to the Single Regeneration Budget programme and expenditure profile of £25 million of public money over the next four years, across a range of projects from job training to bridge works. The King's Cross Partnership is considering adaptations to the programme to respond to the new situation.

    —  Headline developments like the £45 million St Pancras Chambers restoration as an hotel, and the P&O site opposite King's Cross station—and probably the Railtrack station itself—are held back several years. The Chambers consortium are being encouraged to carry on developing their proposals, as are P&O in Islington.

    —  Secondary costs will continue to mount, including maintaining the structural integrity of the station and its approaches; the deterioration of the Chambers and other heritage buildings; and the increased policing and management of the environmental effects of some uses on the railway lands which would otherwise have been removed or modernised by having the CTRL. These problems ought to be eased by positive moves on interim uses, working with LCR as the "custodians" of sites both on and off the railway lands.

    —  King's Cross London Underground station will continue to operate without the Fennel safety works, and despite the frequent fire alerts.

  Recommendation 4. As well as considering the transport implications of conflicting transport projects the Strategic Rail Authority should have a specific responsibility to take account of the wider regeneration and public policy implications of differing projects; and

  Recommendation 5. Before proceeding further with the Heathrow/Waterloo Eurostar link the Government should consult with FTEA and other organisations affected by the regeneration and public policy impacts of such a scheme.

  In the summer a proposal emerged to take Eurostars on from Waterloo into Heathrow Airport. This proposal is enthusiastically endorsed in the White Paper.

  FTEA believes that such a proposal has far reaching effects not just on transport but also on the economies of Kent, East and North London. There is a very real danger that the Heathrow Eurostar proposal will subvert the need for the second phase of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Ebbsfleet through Stratford to St Pancras.

STRATEGIC/REGIONAL PLANNING ISSUES

  Enlarging the Heathrow sphere of influence by increasing its importance on the international and national railway network also risks negating the Government policy to shift the balance of development from west to east London. Greater development pressure in the Heathrow corridor is likely to be the result.

  Concerns of the West London Boroughs to the Terminal 5 proposal including a further 25,000 car parking spaces has focused upon trying to encourage new rail connections into Heathrow to relieve pressure on the strategic road network. It is one thing encouraging rail access to and from Heathrow, another thing to develop it as a major hub of international rail services.

  The European Parliament has adopted the Trans European Networks programme establishing a priority list of rail projects. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is high on the priority programme, has been carefully planned to provide wider benefits for the UK as a whole, through connections to the West Coast Main Line (also on the Tens programme).

  The BA suggested surface route through the chimney pots of south London from Feltham to Waterloo and thence to Ebbsfleet in the East has no realistic wider UK potential. BA have suggested that at some unspecified future date a connection might be achieved to the West Coast Main Line via Reading and presumably via Didcot—Oxford and Banbury to a connection at Coventry or Birmingham. This would effectively bypass the huge investment now agreed between Railtrack and Virgin Trains for the major upgrading of the southern section of the WCML.

LOCAL WEST LONDON PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION ISSUES

  SWELTRACK is a grouping of west London Boroughs, LT, and Railtrack. Their objective has been to try to modify the modal split for London-Heathrow passengers and the local labour market, in favour of rail. They are proposing a new connection from Feltham to Heathrow. Their major concern has been centred on objections to Terminal 5 and the 25,000 new car parking spaces that are planned.

  BA appear to have taken up the SWELTRACK proposal, coupled with options considered in the London Airport Surface Access Study (LASA), in what could be construed as an attempt to maintain control of the competition developing on routes to Europe.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

  The existing route between Feltham and Waterloo operates commuter services with rolling stock that is significantly different from that used by Eurostar. It is unlikely that an upgrading of the route could be achieved simply by re-signalling or modifying track layouts within existing corridor.

  Any modification of the route corridor could impact upon residential and commercial properties on either side of the existing line. Clearly such issues would become a focus for objection at Public Inquiry.

  The BA proposal has not been discussed with the Local Authorities who have spent considerable effort promoting local services into Heathrow via Feltham or Staines. There appear to be a number of immediate objections:

    —  There are insufficient train paths on the route for locally needed services.

    —  Major disruption occurs at the Manor Road level crossing (between Richmond and North Sheen stations) which is closed for more than 50 per cent of the day.

    —  The BA route would pass through an SSSI and the sensitive Stanwell Moor corridor adjacent to the M25.

    —  The BA proposed Staines cord creates other general environmental problems, and would disrupt proposals to relocate Staines station to the former railway triangle site to improve access to the town centre, and improve capacity on the rail network.

  The SWELTRACK proposal developed by the West London authorities seeks to reduce the number of journeys to Heathrow by car from the south. Work undertaken to date has not considered the impacts of running Eurostar, or other TGV type trains in the existing rail corridor.

COMPETITION ISSUES FOR UK AND TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES

  The Heathrow Eurostar proposal raises serious competition issues. It could be interpreted as an opportunistic attempt to sink the north London section of CTRL whilst the project has commercial difficulties. It effectively places any rail alternative to airline connections to Europe within the control of BA, while purporting to offer an alternative route (however tortuous) to the regions north of London.

  The proposal strengthens BA's monopolistic position, protects market share, and at the same time offers the opportunity to divert short haul passengers to Europe onto a rail system they control, releasing aircraft slots at Heathrow for more lucrative international flights.

  Recommendation 6. FTEA believes that the sections of the White Paper relating to freight need to be strengthened in order that the nation can benefit further from railfreight opportunities.

  FTEA supports the White Paper's commitment to the development of railfreight. FTEA believes that the CTRL demonstrates the possible benefits of a pro-active effort to transfer freight from road to rail.

  Last year about 2.9 million tonnes of railfreight passed through the Channel Tunnel (equivalent to some 250,000 lorry loads). This is a disappointingly low figure compared to forecasts made before the Tunnel was opened to traffic. However there are encouraging signs that major growth in the future will be achieved.

  Despite the hiatus surrounding the long, drawn-out privatisation of Railfreight Distribution and its acquisition by EWS Railway in November 1997, an increase of 18 per cent in traffic was achieved. The encouraging signs for the future are:

    —  The integration of domestic and international rail freight operations under EWS will increase efficiency and drive down costs.

    —  The integration of international and domestic terminals, services through the channel tunnel are now much more accessible from all over the country.

    —  The new realism in Europe, led by the European Commission, to overcome the structural complexities in running freight trains over national boundaries.

    —  The creation of Trans Europe Rail Freight Freeways, with "one-stop shops" shows the way forward to achieve faster journey times at less cost.

    —  Eurotunnel has reduced prices from traffic to the huge German market which has not been served by railfreight through the Tunnel in the past.

    —  Railtrack's plans to increase the loading gauge on key routes in the UK to enable larger containers and swap bodies to travel by rail in this country and Piggyback traffic to flow between the UK and mainland Europe.

    —  Increasing road congestion will tilt the balance towards rail which will be increasingly more cost effective and more reliable in comparison.

  With these factors in mind, Railtrack has predicted an increase of 77 per cent in railfreight in the next 10 years and EWS 200 per cent. Eurotunnel considers that a doubling of international railfreight can be exceeded.

  This increase in traffic will cause an increased demand for train paths for freight in competition with international and domestic passenger train services.

  The completion of the whole CTRL route would create this capacity for freight by removing most international and many domestic passenger trains off the existing lines in London and Kent. Additionally, the CTRL will be capable of handling some freight trains itself.

  Any delay, or in the worse case abandonment, of the northern section of CTRL would have the opposite effect. A partial CTRL, ending at Southfleet, would not take Eurostars or domestic passenger trains off the critical parts of the network to free up space for the freight trains and the shorter route would not attract any freight trains to use it.

  To accommodate the expected growth, without the whole CTRL route, would require expensive works on the existing lines involving grade separated junctions and would bring forward the need for a new freight route to be created bypassing London. These works would take time to design, plan and pass through the necessary procedures, choking off the growing demand to send freight by rail.

  Recommendation 7. The Commission for Integrated Transport should be given a specific responsibility to investigate this problem of blight to local communities caused by the exceptionally long lead in time to major rail projects and to advise the Government on ways in which such blight can be mitigated.

  Major transport infrastructure projects have a history of delays, often serious affecting the areas they are supposed to benefit. The June announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister on the future of CTRL was a bold move to underpin the project. However, there is still some uncertainty around the building of The northern section—both about whether it will go ahead and when. The current phasing of the CTRL will delay the start of construction until 2003, and very possibly later.

  This perceived uncertainty continues to blight large areas of the Thames Gateway and St Pancras areas and will act as a brake on the regeneration opportunities offered by the Link. The delay defers the major regeneration of large areas of railway land for five more years unless positive steps are taken now to fill the gap with interim and longer-term uses and infrastructure.

  The railway lands at King's Cross, Stratford and Dartford available for interim and "priming" development comprise massive brownfield sites close to central London. Some have excellent public transport accessibility. As with many similar projects, most buildings, streets and open land would benefit from a rationalising of uses and infrastructure, with perhaps 10 per cent captured for new uses. Many heritage buildings are likely to remain in a final redevelopment, but currently stand at risk of neglect.

  As is often the case, such lands are surrounded by high resident populations, but are given over to low value activities that are generally poor neighbours in character. The resulting environment is downgraded, prone to lax management, and unattractive to new investment because of the uncertainty of the impending transport construction.

  FTEA believes that the Commission for Integrated Transport should be given a specific responsibility to investigate the problem of blight to local communities caused by the exceptionally long lead in time to major rail projects. It should advise the Government on innovative new ways in which such blight could be mitigated.

  Such a responsibility would be a logical extension of the recent consideration given to improving the rules for compensation arising from such major projects.

  Recommendation 8. Pending the creation of the Commission of Integrated Transport the Government should work with local authorities to develop a programme of short and medium-term measures that will encourage investor confidence in the CTRL project and ensure that the momentum for development is not lost.

  FTEA member authorities along the route of CTRL are keen to work with the Government to explore ways in which the effects of the delay on blighted areas could be mitigated by bringing forward local projects. These projects might be directly related to CTRL, be transport-related, improve local infrastructure or bring about more general regeneration.

  FTEA believes that the principles of a pro-active programme of interim activity to mitigate and exploit this delay could include:

    —  bringing empty buildings back into use, especially where this sustains buildings of heritage value in the conservation areas;

    —  making full and rational use of available land by tidying up and improving existing—and often "bad neighbour"—uses, and assembling viable sites for temporary use;

    —  providing infrastructure and buildings that will eventually be used in the CTRL or other construction, and integrating short-term uses with the permanent development of the sites in mind.

  FTEA authorities most directly affected by the delay in building The northern section of CTRL have each identified some schemes that fit the criteria above. FTEA has already submitted these proposals to the DETR with a view to creating a new partnership with Government aimed at ensuring a successful outcome to the CTRL project. A copy of the paper presented to the DETR is attached.

  The document should not be viewed as a simple shopping list but rather as an indication of the numerous possibilities for authorities and the Government to work together. Such a partnership would ensure that the delay in building CTRL is turned into positive benefits for the local communities along the route.

  Such joint initiatives will create an improved environment in the immediate areas surrounding the sites of future CTRL stations and will make the areas more attractive to businesses. This, in turn, will boost business confidence in the likely success of CTRL and encourage investment.

23 September 1998


 
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