This is an independent update on the implementation of the Crossrail project. It sets out the latest news on many of the areas in which Crossrail can affect those in the vicinity, from noise to increased business rates.

Crossrail is to be a main line railway from Maidenhead (Berkshire) and Heathrow Airport in the west to Shenfield (Essex) and Abbey Wood (Greenwich/Bexley border) in the east, crossing London in a new tunnel between Paddington and Stratford. Construction is under way and the railway is expected to open in 2017-18.

Works

There are three distinct work areas: central London stations, central London tunnelling, and ‘on-network’ works (ie works to the existing rail network) in outer London and outside London. Work on Crossrail stations is already under way, and these will be excavated before the tunnel boring machines are launched to connect them together. The on-network works will be carried out by Network Rail independently and are scheduled to start in mid 2010.

Stations

From west to east, works have started at Paddington to upgrade the station and the Hammersmith and City line platforms (not strictly part of Crossrail but included in the Crossrail Act 2008). Works to demolish land at Tottenham Court Road underground station for its enlargement (ditto) are well under way, and the north end of Dean Street has been closed for the start of the works for the western entrance to the Crossrail station. Demolition of Cardinal Tower at Farringdon Station has started – this work is being carried out by Network Rail as Crossrail will have an interchange with the existing main line railway there. Piling works have also started at Canary Wharf for the station there (originally to be called Isle of Dogs, now to be Canary Wharf). Finally, enabling works have started at Pudding Mill Lane near Stratford.

The current timetable for construction of all the central London Crossrail stations is as follows:

Click here to view chart

Crossrail have set up a visitor centre for information about the project near Tottenham Court Road station at 16-18 St Giles High Street. It is open from noon to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a 24-hour helpline on 0345 602 3813.

Tunnelling

The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) is to be launched in late 2011 at Royal Oak near Paddington. Tunnelling is being carried out in five sections (two TBMs per section since there are twin tunnels along the route – eight TBMs will be used in total). The timing for each section is as follows:

Click here to view chart

To train up staff to work on the tunnelling phase of the project, Crossrail are proposing to establish a ‘tunnelling academy’ at Aldersbrook Sidings west of Ilford Station. It is planned to open in April 2010.

On network works

A detailed timetable for the on-network works is not yet available, but Network Rail have identified that the following are to be carried out:

  • electrification of the route west of Paddington;
  • resignalling along the whole of the route;
  • managing 2 million cubic metres of the tunnel spoil;
  • rebuilt stations at Abbey Wood, Ilford, Romford and Ealing Broadway;
  • major remodelling of Airport Junction;
  • rebuilt bridges, many of which are of heritage value;
  • platform extensions at over 20 stations along the route; and
  • timetable remodelling.

Funding

The £15.9bn cost of Crossrail (not including trains, another £1bn or so) is being funded through a combination, in roughly equal thirds, of government grant, borrowing against future fare income, and direct and indirect contributions from businesses in London. The last category is further explained in what follows.

Business Rate Supplement

£4.1bn is to be funded through a supplement on the business rate from the financial year 2010/11. It will be levied at 2p in the pound on the revalued April 2010 rateable values for all non-domestic properties in Greater London with a rateable value of more than £50,000 (estimated to be about 40,000 properties). Some properties such as those owned by charities and amateur sports clubs will get an 80% discount. The supplement will be levied every year for 24-30 years. The Mayor of London will finalise his plans for levying the business rate supplement towards the end of January 2010.

Planning permission tariff

In addition to the business rate supplement, £650m is proposed to be raised via a tariff levied on developments receiving planning permission in three areas of London: central London (the Central Activities Zone – roughly tube zone 1), the northern Isle of Dogs, and within 960m of outer London Crossrail stations. This tariff is proposed to be levied until 2026. In central London, it is to be set at a level of £160 per square metre of gross external area for all office developments involving a net increase in size of more than 500 square metres; in the northern Isle of Dogs it is to be £218.30/m2 for the same types of development, and for the outer London Crossrail stations the tariff will be levied on a case by case basis. Acknowledging the current financial downturn, an initial reduction of 20% for the first three years is proposed. An Examination in Public (EiP) into the necessary changes to the London Plan was held in December 2009, and the changes are expected to be finalised and come into force during 2010.

The Mayor has already been seeking Crossrail contributions from developments in advance of the formal policies being adopted. Some money has been raised in this way, although not as much as initially requested. The Mayor exercised his new power to step in and grant planning permission for the first time for Columbus Tower in Docklands, which Tower Hamlets had originally refused, and this was tied to a £4m contribution to Crossrail.

Finally, the Mayor has asked the Secretary of State for Transport to encourage outof- London authorities to raise funds in the same way for developments around the outer Crossrail stations.

Community Infrastructure Levy

A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is being introduced through the Planning Act 2008 and regulations that are due to come into force on 1 April 2010. This will be a more formalised system of paying for infrastructure through a levy made when planning permission is granted, payable when construction starts (see our separate briefing paper on CIL for full details). The Mayor will convert the above tariff into CIL in due course, which will mean another public examination into charging levels, although at the EiP into the planning permission tariff there was some confusion as to how the two would interrelate and whether CIL would be charged more widely.

Other contributions

Certain businesses have pledged funds directly: £230m from BAA, £150m from Canary Wharf Group, and £200m from the Corporation of London (in 2015). Berkeley Homes is also paying for the Woolwich station box. Finally, the Corporation of London has pledged that it will raise at least £50m and up to £150m from businesses, although it is not in a hurry to do this.

Planning matters and other consents

The construction and operation of Crossrail are authorised by the Crossrail Act 2008, which received Royal Assent in July of that year. This means that many of the usual controls for projects of this type have been modified or overridden. Nevertheless, some still remain, as follows.

Planning approvals

Crossrail has planning permission by virtue of the Act, but certain matters still need final approval from local authorities under Schedule 7 to the Act (and so the applications for these are known as Schedule 7 applications). Approval can only be withheld or conditions imposed if the application can be ‘modified to preserve the local environment or local amenity or to reduce the prejudicial effects on road safety or on the free flow of traffic in the local area, and is reasonably capable of being so modified.’

Crossrail can appeal against refusal, the imposition of conditions, or nondetermination of a Schedule 7 application. An appeal takes a similar form to an ordinary planning appeal.

By December 2009, Westminster City Council had received 19 applications for Schedule 7 consents. Applications can be viewed on the council’s website at http:// www3.westminster.gov.uk/planningapplications/xrailApps.cfm By June 2009 the City of London had received three applications, but it does not generally identify them on its website, nor do the other central London local authorities.

Listed building approvals

Similarly, the Crossrail Act removes the need to seek listed building approval or conservation area consent, but agreement on certain issues is still required from local authorities – this is under Schedule 9 to the Act together with a set of ‘heritage deeds’ this time.

Either Crossrail or the local authority can appeal a failure to agree and again there is an appeals process laid down.

Planning restrictions

Finally, Crossrail has powers over other people’s planning applications that might affect the construction or operation of the railway. This is effected by a process known as ‘safeguarding’, where planning applications for development within a defined corridor along the route must be referred by local authorities to Crossrail, who can direct that they be refused. The refusal could still be appealed and the appeal won, so this does not amount to a full veto.

Environmental matters

Lorries

Some 7.3 million cubic metres (5 million tonnes) of excavated material is expected to be produced by the Crossrail works. Of this, 1 mcm will be removed by rail, 2.3 mcm by river, and the remaining 4 mcm by road. Approximately 60 lorries per day will carry spoil during the peak of 2012. Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chief Executive, said when asked about this at a CBI seminar on Crossrail that adherence to the timetable overrode full environmental mitigation, regrettable though the environmental impact of the lorries was.

Control of noise

The Crossrail Act amends the procedure for complaining about noise nuisance. Instead of going to the magistrates’ court, if there is a dispute between Crossrail and a local authority about noise, the parties can either agree to arbitration or can appeal to the Secretary of State.

This is the only mechanism for complaining about noise. If someone other than the local authority is affected by noise, therefore, they should contact Crossrail in the first instance (the helpline number is 0345 602 3813), and if this is not fruitful they should ask the environmental health department of the relevant local authority to take action.

Spoil

The spoil that is excavated was originally to be deposited at Pitsea near Basildon in Essex. Instead, much of it is now to be used at the Wallasea Island bird reserve further east.

Compulsory purchase

The Crossrail Act operates like a giant compulsory purchase order, amongst other things, authorising the acquisition of nearly 5700 parcels of land along the route. About 2000 of these are only for land below the surface that will accommodate the tunnels, but for the remainder, land at the surface can be taken.

Crossrail Ltd is acquiring land in central London in batches using the ‘General Vesting Declaration’ (GVD) method, which allows Crossrail to take ownership of land quickly. To date 19 GVDs have been issued, covering land at Paddington, Bond Street, Dean Street, Tottenham Court Road, Southampton Row, Farringdon, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Pudding Mill Lane, West India Dock, the River Lea, Ilford and Woolwich.

If you receive a formal notice you have at least three months to leave the premises – the period will be set out in the notice. Upon receiving a notice you can request an advance payment of compensation of 90% of Crossrail’s estimate of the amount they think you are entitled to, which must be paid within three months of your request, or Crossrail taking possession of your land, whichever is later. You can also initiate a claim for compensation in the Lands Court of the Upper Tribunal, which will decide between your estimate of compensation and Crossrail’s (or somewhere in between). You are entitled to claim from Crossrail the reasonable costs of a solicitor and a valuer for dealing with the compensation claim once you receive a notice. Crossrail are also amenable to seeking independent mediation of compensation claims, to avoid the time and expense (by both sides) of going to the Lands Tribunal.

Further information

From the above it can be seen that there are many ways in which the Crossrail project can affect you: station works, tunnel works, on network works, business rate increases, planning permission tariffs, Crossrail Schedule 7 and 9 applications, planning refusals, lorry movements, noise, compulsory purchase and compensation.