Enfield Council calls for rail scheme to unlock regeneration

Mon 5 December 2011, 6:07 pm

Enfield Council has called for Network Rail to invest in a third rail track on the West Anglia overground route to help unlock 4.4 billion of growth for the troubled UK economy.

Enfield’s regeneration programme aims to create 15,000 jobs and 15,700 new homes, through schemes such as the 70ha Meridian Water redevelopment scheme. 

Speaking at at an event at the House of Commons today, Enfield Council chief executive Rob Leak said: “Unlocking growth very much needs investment in transport infrastructure." 

He added that benefits of the third rail track would be felt beyond Enfield itself, in neighbouring London boroughs as well as Hertfordshire and Essex. 

“We want greater prosperity in the Lee Valley Corridor, whether it’s north or south of the M25,” he said. “We are strongly advised by developers that the third track is the key to unlocking development opportunities across the Lee Valley.”

Other schemes were also discussed, including reviving the Northern Gateway Access Road to Junction 26 of the M25, a scheme originally rejected because environmental impacts outweighed economic benefits. 

“The economy is significantly weaker in 2011 than in 2001 so economic growth should be a more important factor now,” said Leak, adding that the plan had been improved to reduce its environmental impact.

“Additional improvements to roads in Meridian Water will be funded through TIF or CIL,” he continued. 

“We believe transport infrastructure improvements will unlock a GVA of £4.4 billion across the Upper Lee Valley. In Enfield alone we can add £2.1 billion to the UK economy.”

The event was hosted by Enfield MPs Nick De Bois and Andy Love, with presentations from councillors and chief officers and research findings from Oxford Economics and Jonathan Roberts Consulting. 

It took place in the lead-up to the government’s announcement regarding available funding, expected next July, and then Network Rail’s next funding cycle, from 2014 to 2019.

Consultant Jonathan Roberts pointed out Network Rail estimates of five million passengers a year using the West Anglia line. 

That compared to an estimated 12 million people using the route annually, according to his firm’s passenger counts at each station on the line.

"The current system of two tracks is not fast enough and not reliable enough and has got to improve," said council deputy leader Achilleas Georgiou. 

A third track from Tottenham Hale to Brimsdown would enable a potential new station at Picketts Lock and trains every 15 minutes between Stratford and Stansted, he said.