Network Rail stations director Norrie Courts told a Built Environment Networking Conference in London that all Network Rail property project frameworks were being rejigged and a new umbrella agreement would ‘hopefully’ appear in August or September.
Network Rail has also begun initial design work on a major revamp of Clapham Junction, which will include installing a deck capable of accommodating up to 12,000 new homes on top of the UK’s busiest interchange. Courts said that they should know by 2020 whether the project, which will also realign the tracks and create a new station box to preserve the Crossrail 2 line, will go forward.
Other projects he highlighted in Network Rail’s 200 project-strong future programme include 115 units and a new station at Twickenham, which should be complete next year, the exploration of a new deck for housing on top of Gatwick Station, and 252 homes which are coming forward in three phases on land next to Wembley North.
Network Rail has a target to release land for around 12,000 homes by March 2020.
Liz Peace, chairman of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), told the event that the former railway lands that her organisation is developing in northwest London could be the ‘perfect site’ for hosting international conventions in London.
The 650-acre site is big enough for the international convention centres found in US cities, she said. “It would be a perfect site for international conventions, which London doesn’t have,” she said.
Liz Peace also said work carried out by Aecom had helped to identify that around £1bn worth of infrastructure is required to bring forward the site which has been identified for 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs. New bridges and tunnels will be needed to open up the site, which is landlocked by a ‘phenomenal number’ of railway lines.
The mayoral development corporation is currently focused on unlocking the north of the site to ease the passage of the HS2 station at the southern end, which is not due to open until 2026. But Liz Peace added that the OPDC is working with HS2 to ensure that the development potential of the surrounding area is not constrained once the high speed rail project is complete.
Transport for London (TfL) is also looking to develop housing on its surplus land. The property team at TfL has been tasked with starting 10,000 homes on site by 2021.
TfL head of property development Peter Elliott told the conference that the surface car parks it owns at rail stations in the capital’s outer suburbs provided a ‘huge opportunity’ for housing development. Referring to the relatively healthy state of the outer London housing market, he said: “There is much more interest in zones 3 to 6 in which TfL happens to hold a lot of land.”
But redeveloping the capital’s bus stations and Docklands Light Railway stations was ‘potentially more transformational’, said Mr Elliot. “Putting bus stations at ground floor creates a shed load of cash and better interchanges between bus and tube stations,” he said.
Other projects being worked up by TfL include a ‘potential brand-new town centre’ in Edgware and new homes on top of the Harrow on Hill station. Redeveloping its station a Poplar in London’s east end is also on the radar, which could improve the integration between high rise Canary Wharf and the less heavily built up east end neighbourhood next door.