One of England’s major growth corridors is in line for significant improvements to its transport connections after the Government pledged to establish a West Anglia task force.
Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the task force would be set up to look at improving connections between north London, Stratford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport with findings expected by mid 2016.
Ministers also stated that Network Rail is working on a cross-industry study to improve rail links between London and Stansted and should report back by this summer.
The reports are likely to consider four tracking the West Anglia line and using longer trains to improve service reliability.
The West Anglia taskforce is expected to include the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC), which represents public and private sector interests along the route including the Greater London Authority, London Stansted Airport, Deloitte, AstraZeneca and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Kevin Bentley, deputy chair of the LSCC and deputy leader of Essex CC, said: ‘This provides an opportunity to combine faster and more frequent mainline services to Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Essex, Stansted plus a high frequency service within London, including Liverpool Street, Stratford and Tottenham.
‘With the population along the corridor set to grow by 1.4 million in just 20 years, a more ambitious and long-term strategic approach for infrastructure investment is now necessary in order to allow high-tech businesses to grow and new housing to be unlocked.’
The LSCC has had a long standing ambition to four-track the West Anglia line, stating this would dramatically improve the reliability of the service and realise the potential of housing and job opportunities along the corridor.
Senior LSCC sources told Transport Network this was an idea whose ‘time has come’ and that the expansion of the line was a growth issue not just a transport one.
Plans still in development for how to utilise the large amount of brownfield land along the line, particularly in north London, and prospective greenfield developments could build on schemes such as Nine Elms in London, Transport Network understands.
The Nine Elms scheme established a mixture of levies including community infrastructure levies and the planned collection of business rates from new businesses as they move into the area to help pay for transport improvements for the site including extending the Northern line to Battersea with two new stations being built at Battersea and Nine Elms by 2020.
The news comes as Tottenham Football club edged closer to its dream of expanding its stadium with a £400m development to bring its capacity up to 56,000.
After a High Court battle, the last business standing in the way of the development, family-run business Archway Sheet Metal Works, lost its challenge against the use of a compulsory purchase order to force it out of its premises near White Hart Lane.