At £17 billion Crossrail is a costly but necessary cog in the UK’s plan for economic growth for the decades ahead. Rather than continually tinkering at the edges, Crossrail is a visionary project aimed at tackling the Capital’s interconnected transport problems. During rush hour Crossrail will provide the capacity to whisk twenty-four ten carriage trains right through the heart of London.
To help me gain a greater understanding of the likely hurdles ahead, today I visited Crossrail’s HQ and had a tour of a vast concrete bunker which will soon be transformed into the Canary Wharf Crossrail station. Four stations alone are set to be linked to the Crossrail route in my constituency of Cities of London & Westminster providing substantial benefits to local residents and businesses.
Projects of such scale inevitably result in significant disruption and I am very aware that no-one will be affected more than my constituents. It has already disturbed, blighted and infuriated thousands of my central London electors and will continue to do so for much of this decade. My unequivocal support from the outset for the new cross-Capital transport link has only brought me public approval (and by no means universal) from business owners, almost all of whom live elsewhere! However, it is also probably the case that the silent majority of local people begrudgingly accept a state-of-the-art transport upgrade is a necessity.
Unsurprisingly Crossrail related disruption is an issue constituents frequently raise and I have naturally kept an extremely watchful eye on the project from the outset. Much of preparatory work is now complete and Crossrail is gearing up to accelerate the physical construction work of which a mere 4% is done. I used my visit to feedback the worries of constituents including the concerns expressed over the closure of Eastbourne Terrace. I shall continue to vigorously raise the fears of local residents about compensation, noise and disruption until (hopefully) the conclusion of the project in 2018. In the meantime, the continued patience and understanding of all those who live, work and visit central London is very much appreciated.