(Director of Planning Services) to consider the attached report.
The Director for Planning and Economic Development, John Preston, presented the report on the current Crossrail 2 consultation. He noted that this had also been to the last Planning Scrutiny Standing Panel meeting for their comments on the consultation which were reflected in the report.
Members noted that Crossrail 1 was well underway and was to provide improved links and capacity for east west travel across London.
Crossrail 2 (formally known as the Chelsea – Hackney Line) was intended to do the same on a south west north east axis.
Since 1991 a route for Crossrail 2 has been safeguarded which had included the Central Line up to Epping. The formal area safeguarded has been the relevant underground sections of the Central Line and the District Line. Part of the logic of the Central line component of that route was that some of it was originally an “overground” or heavy rail line.
The report identified likely issues for EFDC and there was also a supplementary report written by Jonathan Roberts an experienced consultant who looked at some of the issues which had been raised. Particular attention was drawn to his comments about the Central Line.
Councillor Lion raised concerns that because the ‘Hainault Loop’ was a loop it would be restrictive in that TfL has said they could not run anymore services on it. Do you have any comments on how this had moved forward? Mr Preston said that he had heard that the service was restricted, certainly at certain hours of the day. Also, one of the stations on this loop was one of the least used stations on the underground network. This may be a recipe for implementing cutbacks over time. TfL were conscious of these issues and have some intention to try and increase the service. We would like to ensure we get a commitment to that. It has also been recently suggested that TfL would take over more overground services so that may be where they would put their investment.
Councillor Avey commented about the drawbacks from the lack of finance, especially with the new High Speed Rail Link project likely to go ahead and the new rail link from Heathrow, we would receive little finance in our area. Mr Preston understood what Councillor Avey was saying but noted that these problems were what the report was trying to pick up.
Councillor Lion noted that the report had nothing about car parking but this had to be a high priority in our commuter area. Mr Preston noted this and would add it to our reply.
Councillor Waller had some sympathy with Councillor Avey’s comments; the High Speed link would complete with Crossrail 2 for financial resources. In the report by Mr Roberts, he did point out that the Central Line was essentially a suburban railway and it would be easier to incorporate into any new route. It was vital we sought further investment to the Central Line into Epping. There was a clear conflict between airport passengers and local commuters. It should be remembered that commuters brought in a great deal of income into our district. There were many uncertainties especially on the future of Stansted airport. It was important that we make a clear response to this consultation and support the enhancement to the West Anglia route and the Central Line.
Councillor Philip said it was important to get the Central Line attached to the Crossrail 2 project. It would also be sensible to extend the Victoria Line to Epping. The real danger was that this part of Essex could become a backwater bordered by Crossrail 1 and 2 with us in the middle. We were in danger of being sidelined if we don’t get access to Crossrail 1 or 2.
Councillor Angold-Stephens agreed. He would like them to focus on an extension from Leytonstone to Epping above ground, although it may be that the stations may need to be extended to take longer trains. He also noted that the report talked about Marshalling Yards but he was told that they would be Maintenance Depots and there would be potential employment prospects coming from this.
Councillor Jacobs said that he was in a quandary about this, did we want a direct line into the West End or something different. Commuters were parking in Epping because it was cheaper and because of this and the fare structure, we would always have problems. Mr Preston agreed that residents would want to have the ability to go straight into the West End but this would also throw up the problems with the commuters coming into Epping to use our station.
Councillor Whitbread said that they would be talking to TfL asking them to improve the parking at their stations.
· London Borough of Redbridge
· London Borough of Waltham Forest
· West Anglia Routes Group
· North London Strategic Alliance
· London Stansted Cambridge Consortium
· Essex County Council
· Borough of Broxbourne
· Corporation of London
· London First
· Members of Parliament for the Epping, Harlow and Brentwood & Ongar constituencies