Green light expected for key rail upgrade

Fri 30 November 2012, 1:43 pm

Enfield's regeneration lead is confident that plans to upgrade Lee Valley rail services to spur development at Meridian Water will win government backing in the coming weeks.

The borough, in combination with the Greater London Authority and neighbouring councils, is lobbying for a package of rail-infrastructure improvements valued at between £78 million and £81 million that will boost services between Stratford, Tottenham Hale and Angel Road.

The plans - dubbed the STAR scheme, after the three station names - would see the addition of a third line between Brimsdown Road Station in Enfield and Stratford, allowing for four stopping trains an hour on the route because faster services like the Stanstead Express would be able to overtake slower-moving trains.

Councillor Del Goddard, Enfield’s cabinet member for business and regeneration, said he was hopeful ministerial backing for the infrastructure work would come before the end of the year.

“Enfield and the Greater London Authority  have worked up strong case for this and we’re more than two-thirds of way there now,” he said. “Now we believe that the last third can be achieved with government support.”

The frequency of stopping trains at Angel Road Station is seen as a potential obstacle to pace of development for the Meridian Water scheme.

In a recent submission to MPs on the parliamentary transport select committee, Enfield Council said a first-phase developer for Meridian Water would be prepared to almost double the 450 homes it was planned to build if Angel Road services were improved from the current low-frequency peak-time-only trains.

Council chief executive Rob Leak has also described the rail upgrade as “vital” to attract billions of pounds worth of investment to the Lee Valley corridor.

Councillor Goddard said that ministerial approval for the rail plans would be ideally timed to give prominence to the scheme and Meridian Water in a high-profile launch of cross-boundary North London boroughs' opportunity area planning framework, expected in January 2013.