Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones has called on the government to provide an urgent £1 billion boost to rail infrastructure in south London.
With the major Westfield development in the town centre now having been given the go-ahead, the borough is now making plans to cope with the increased strain the project will place on Croydon’s extended rail network.
The new £1.4 billion shopping centre is to be built in Croydon town centre, with developers claiming that it will bring 7,000 jobs and up to 1,000 new homes to the area.
Warning about the increased footfall the project will bring, Jones told the House of Commons this week: “More housing will kick-start productivity only if the right type of infrastructure supports it.
“Croydon Council recently gave the green light to a transformative project led by Westfield and Hammerson to bring thousands of new jobs and homes to Croydon, but we are hampered by our infrastructure. East Croydon station has the second highest number of rail interchanges in the country.
”The Brighton mainline, which serves Croydon and other important south London destinations, desperately needs £1 billion to handle the increase in demand that it will face in the coming years. Overcrowding on the network is hampering our productivity.”
This Gov. is failing on education and infrastructure, so it’s no wonder our economy is slowing. My speech in yesterday’s budget debate: pic.twitter.com/j7FlI4w0eR
— Sarah Jones MP (@LabourSJ) November 28, 2017
The Brighton mainline currently runs from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton and is a major commuting route.
Chair of Croydon planning committee, Paul Scott, has also backed the need for rail improvements linked to Westfield: “I know that some upgrades will obviously be necessary for public accessibility.
“However, with East Croydon, the station needs significant upgrades not just due to Westfield, but also for the other ongoing projects are currently going on in Croydon.”
Network Rail has already proposed an upgrade to the Brighton mainline which would include the elimination of bottlenecks on the network, signalling upgrades and an increase in the capacity of East Croydon Station.
The Gibb Report published in 2016 found that East Croydon station is one of the most overcrowded in London due to increases in the volume of passengers.