Mayor of London visits Barking Riverside to announce capital-wide infrastructure plans
- Credit: Archant
Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited Barking Riverside this morning, to launch a set of capital-wide infrastructure requirements for the next half-century.
With London’s population set to exceed 11 million by 2050, the plan states 50,000 new homes need to be built across the capital each year – 10,000 of which will come from the Riverside development.
As part of the visit, the Mayor took a tour around one of the new show homes and met local councillors.
Talking about Barking Riverside, he said: “This would be a great scheme for the city and the country. London is the motor for economic growth for Britain and you can put a lot of homes here.
“What we’re seeing is the organic movement of London back towards to an area that was always heavily neglected and always treated as an industrial wasteland.
“That no longer applies. In 100 years’ time this will be the new Piccadilly Circus – the heart of London.”
The plan estimates an increased demand of up to 80 per cent for London rail services between now and the middle of the century – which is the backdrop to the proposed Overground extension.
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During this year’s budget day speech, chancellor George Osborne announced plans to work with the Mayor to extend the new rail line to Barking Riverside.
The timescale of the project is still unknown – but it is likely an announcement will be made later this year.
“We’ve heard the muttering of the medium several times; the eyeballs are revolving, but what we want to see now is the ectoplasm,” added the Mayor.
“It’s got to happen. I hope things will be made clear by the end of this year.”
Asked if the government funds had been made available, he repeated: “I hope you’ll see something very clearer at the end of the year. Look for [George Osborne’s] autumn statement.”
Barking and Dagenham Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell is also hopeful of extending the line – not just to Barking Riverisde, but also to Abbey Wood in Greenwich to link up with Crossrail as early as 2018.
“I’m confident it will happen,” he said. “We want to link in with Crossrail at the top and the bottom of the borough as well so I hope George Osborne will say something nice to us in autumn.
“Both the Mayor and the borough are very positive so hopefully if you’ve you got the two elements that really want it, we’ll get a positive outcome.”
Despite the optimistic tone of the morning, some remained sceptical.
Speaking after Thursday’s visit, Cllr Rocky Gill told the Post: “It’s the same old story. We were promised an announcement in last year’s autumn statement and yet we are still waiting.
“The time for talking is over. The rail extension needs to be delivered sooner rather than later.”