Leading Article: No way to cost a railway

Share
Related Topics
THE fate of London Underground's planned Jubilee Line - a pounds 1.8bn project - now hangs upon the office accommodation of 2,500 staff in the Department of the Environment. The success of negotiations between the administrators of Canary Wharf, the banks and the Government depend on a decision whether to move these civil servants to Docklands. The Cabinet's ruling is expected this week. This is no way to decide the transport priorities of the capital.

The Jubilee extension was announced in late 1989 by Cecil Parkinson after intensive negotiations between Olympia & York, Canary Wharf's developers, and the Government. The developers agreed to provide financial support, worth about pounds 160m, towards the pounds 1.8bn cost. The administrators have made a similar offer - but only on condition that the 2,500 civil servants are moved to Canary Wharf.

The line would create four new stations for south London - at Southwark, Bermondsey, Canada Water and North Greenwich - though there have been doubts about whether there is sufficient funding for all of them. It would give new access from east London, as the extension is planned to run through Docklands to Canning Town, West Ham and Stratford. And it would provide added capacity in central London between Waterloo and Baker Street.

This, however, is icing on the cake. The raison d'etre for the line would be to provide a viable transport structure for Docklands and, therefore, boost land and property prices there. Without the Jubilee Line, it is unlikely that the existing offices can be filled and the second half of the Canary Wharf development, a projected five million square feet of office space, would not be built. But this would not be a disaster, and should not, in any case, be of concern to the Government. The London Docklands Development Corporation would presumably find alternative use for the land. There might even be more parks, more housing, possibly sports centres and schools. Docklands might be in danger of becoming a real place.

There are a number of cheaper transport schemes that would be of immediate help to east London. They would bring regeneration to a substantial part of south and east London for a fraction of the cost of the Jubilee Line extension. For example, extending the East London Line to Peckham and Dulwich in the south and Highbury and Dalston in the north along mostly existing lines would cost a mere pounds 100m. Similarly, the Docklands Light Railway could be extended south of the river to Lewisham for pounds 130m-pounds 140m. The money for this is supposed to come from the private sector, but it could be raised by the Government if the Jubilee Line were cancelled.

These two schemes, both of which have been subjected to a cost-benefit analysis by London Transport, give two or three times better value for money than the Jubilee extension. So do the bigger projects on the stocks: the Chelsea to Hackney line, which actually goes from Putney Bridge to Epping Forest, and the Crossrail route underneath London linking the Liverpool Street and Paddington lines, both costed at around pounds 2bn. London needs substantial investment in public transport. Scrapping the Jubilee Line extension would allow for a more rational use of resources.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links