Flexing his new Mayoral muscles, Andy Burnham has set out his belief that HS3 ( linking Manchester to Leeds) should be the Crossrail of the North and be delivered before Crossrail 2. Government should, in his view, prioritise investment in Northern transport infrastructure. Their views are not the same as those expressed by the All Party Parliament Group of London MPs who want to focus on London's economic wellbeing as a way to support continued growth across the UK. All over the developed and the developing world, governments of almost every political persuasion see infrastructure as part of their tool kit for priming economic growth and stability . For the UK, it is undoubtedly part of the strategy to negate the likely impact of BREXIT.
That London should be prioritised was the clear message from Michele Dix, Liz Peace and Pete Gladwell at the" Infrastructure and Housing – Crossrail 2" breakfast briefing held at Fieldfisher's London office on 10 May. But don’t confuse "London first "with being the same as "only London". Each of our speakers stated their view that investment in infrastructure in London was central to underpinning the UK economy and, therefore, should not be pushed to the back of the queue. Delivering Crossrail 2 would have employment benefits across the country and open up housing opportunities in areas better served by more transport links.
Both Liz Peace, new Chair of Old Oak Common Development Corporation and Michele Dix drew attention to the ability to use enhanced real estate value to fund infrastructure and therefore unlock development. Crossrail 2 as a scheme including rolling stock would cost circa £36bn. The importance of value capture from land and property was highlighted and very much commended . There were, it was recognised, a number of lessons learned from Crossrail 1 where more value could have been captured, particularly in increased values around stations. Although not mentioned by name, the great benefits to the Northern Line Extension of income through incremental business rates ( or Tax Increment Financing ) was mentioned as viable although understandably more difficult in the context of a scheme of the complexity and length of Crossrail 2.