Greenwich Council’s Dan Thorpe leader is seeking the public to be part of test events before Crossrail officially opens.
A number of events beginning in mid-February will test evacuation plans with some focused around Woolwich. So far only TfL staff are confirmed as being able to partake.
Today saw Canary Wharf station handed over to TfL, and that’ll be just a seven minute journey from Woolwich when the line officially opens.
Funding Woolwich station
The council leader has been rather more quiet about Greenwich’s outstanding bill to pay for the station. Woolwich was not originally planned to be on the the line and a late agreement saw Berkeley Homes pay for a station box and the authority fund the £15m fit-out costs.
That target was due to be met via Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy costs by around 2018 – but hasn’t due to the borough choosing a very low levy for property developers to pay in 2015 (£70 per square metre for residential in most of the borough when up to £265 psm was possible), and failing to revise it by 2018.
Thus a £27.5 million estimate for income received via CIL by 2021 in fact saw just £9.7 million received.
In 2019/20 Greenwich still owed £9,088,750.
Fast forward to 2020/21 and £8,082,747 was still remaining.
That means even by 2022 there is uncertainty whether the council will make the deadline.
It also ensures no income whatsoever for other key community services and facilities since 2015 from CIL income – whether it be youth clubs, health facilities, estate improvements, tree planting schemes or deep cleaning town centres.
Many developments are now seeing developers pay extremely low rates by London standards even in wealthy parts of the borough such as Greenwich town centre due to that 2015 £70 rate rate chosen by Greenwich which they failed to revise.
So far the only comment by Greenwich councillors has been to deny it’s an issue and claim it is “misleading” to state over £8 million is still owed. Council leader Dan Thorpe supported that incorrect assertion despite the figure being in his council’s own annual CIL report.
If higher rates were adopted in 2015, or revise din 2018, it’s almost certain the Crossrail tab would now be met and money available for many other community projects.
As it is, they sit near the very bottom among all London councils for income alongside development areas such as Stratford Olympic Legacy Corporation.
This is a work in progress showing totals from 2015 to 2021: