Council leader welcomes Crossrail funding agreement

Havering council leader Damian White was secretly recorded earlier this year claiming he had influenced the council's submiss...

Havering council leader Damian White was secretly recorded earlier this year claiming he had influenced the council's submission to the LGBCE, to make it 'really politically advantageous'. Picture: Mark Sepple/Havering Council - Credit: Mark Sepple/Havering Council

Havering Council leader Damian White has welcomed news that funding will be provided for the final phase of Crossrail.

Transport for London announced on Tuesday that a financial package had been agreed with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the government towards the project’s completion.

It had been reported that London’s transport commissioner Andy Byford had warned the government that the project could be mothballed without more cash.

But a TfL spokesperson said that up to £825million will now be borrowed by the Greater London Authority from the Department for Transport towards the scheme.

The central section of the Elizabeth line is set to open in the first half of 2022 - it will then be extended to run from Reading to Shenfield, including through Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood stations in Havering.

The latest news follows a number of setbacks for the scheme, which was originally meant to open in 2018.

Cllr White had called for an inquiry after Crossrail Ltd revealed a further delay to the project in August.

The council leader said he was now “pleased” that TfL, which has taken over the running of the scheme, and the government had reached a funding agreement.

He added: “This much-needed connection has already been delayed multiple times which means outer London boroughs like Havering are paying the price.

“Let’s hope there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel for local residents and that TfL can get Crossrail back on track.”

Following the agreement, Mr Byford said: “I have been very clear that it is my priority to get the railway open as soon as possible and all those working on the Crossrail project are focused on that too. 

“Confirming this financing is an essential step in ensuring the team can fully concentrate on safely delivering the Elizabeth line, which is so vital for boosting rail capacity and supporting the economy.”

Mr Khan said he will continue to monitor the scheme’s progress and do what he can to minimise costs.

He added: “I do not want this project to be stalled so it is vital that we dig deep to get the railway up and running.”

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