Drive to get Riverside rail link back on track
John Phillips A CLOSE adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson is putting pressure on the government to kick start a DLR extension, which is key to the completion of the �1.9billion Barking Riverside development. Sir Simon Milton, deputy mayor for policy and planning, has
A CLOSE adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson is putting pressure on the government to kick start a DLR extension, which is key to the completion of the �1.9billion Barking Riverside development.
Sir Simon Milton, deputy mayor for policy and planning, has demanded �100million of government cash for the Dagenham Docks extension
Without the funding, the 20-year, 10,800-home development, seen as key to the borough's regeneration, will stall.
A legal agreement, signed between Barking and Dagenham Council and developers Barking Riverside Ltd, means no more than 1,500 properties will be built without the DLR rail link.
The move can be seen as something of a U-turn for City Hall after London Mayor Mr Johnson caused alarm in November by ditching a public inquiry into the rail extension, worth a total of �750million, because of fears over the recession.
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Council leader Cllr Charles Fairbrass welcomed the new drive to put the overground rail link back on the agenda, while John Biggs, London Assembly member for City and East London, which includes Barking and Dagenham, hailed the fact that City Hall was renewing its interest in the project.
In January, Barking Riverside Ltd submitted plans to build the first 1,500 properties, plus a primary school and shops, by 2012.
Cllr Fairbrass, said: "We support any initiatives to bring the DLR extension back on to the public agenda.
"The council is working hard to get the mayor and central government to talk to each other and agree funding, so it is good news that these discussions are taking place."
Mr Biggs, a relentless extension campaigner, said: "It is great news that City Hall is back on board and I think we now all accept that the extension is vital, not just for the borough, but for London as a whole.
"Future housing and jobs for local people and for Londoners need improved public transport."
A TfL spokesman said: "We recognise that the project, which is unfunded, would be of benefit to the area, but government backing is essential in order to take it forward."
A spokesman for Barking Riverside Ltd said: "The DLR was not expected to be operational until at least 2016 and we continue working with TfL, the mayor and government to try and find a funding solution for the proposed extension to Dagenham Dock.