Businesses outside London could be asked to contribute to the costs of Crossrail after Boris Johnson asked Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to consult with planning authorities in the South East and East of England about levying a contribution to the scheme’s costs on new planning developments in those areas.
News of the Mayor’s letter came as he published revised proposals for alterations to the London Plan which could see new office developments in Central London and the northern part of the Isle of Dogs asked to contribute to Crossrail’s costs.
Last December the Mayor described the private sector contributions, which would be levied under Section 106 agreements, as “an important part of the funding package”.
The Mayor is consulting on whether the boundaries of the Central London charging area should be changed to reduce creating an adverse impact on areas where investment margins on new developments are tighter and is also seeking views on the possibility of a lower contribution rate during the first years of the charging scheme.
Speaking yesterday the Mayor said: “I have listened carefully to the views and concerns of developers over contributions to this crucial venture and I am committed to taking a wholly pragmatic approach in future negotiations and will consider every case individually.”
“It is important that we now move forward and ensure that those new developments which benefit most from Crossrail can contribute their fare share.”
Jenny Jones, who chairs the London Assembly Planning and Housing Committee, welcomed the Mayor’s proposals, saying they “make it clear the Mayor has taken some of the Committee’s key concerns on board – and will make the Crossrail levy much more workable, particularly in the current economic climate.”
“Today’s proposals are also good news for boroughs that were facing a significant reduction in the amount of Section 106 money they have to spend on local improvements – and few benefits – like Southwark, Lambeth and Hackney.”