Businesses in Abbey Wood have faced years of “broken promises” from Crossrail, its local MP has said, as the Elizabeth Line’s opening date has been put back still further.
The line was due to launch in December but has been delayed after a series of problems. Yesterday it was announced the line from Abbey Wood, Woolwich and Canary Wharf to Paddington would open by March 2021 at the latest – and even then without the key interchange of Bond Street.
There is no date for completion of the full route, which would run from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and Shenfield, Essex.
Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce, who represents Abbey Wood, said people have been suffering over the delays.
She said: “The traders in Wilton Road have suffered for years with all the disruption of building the new station. They struggled to keep going on the promise of better times when Crossrail opened, but now with the opening date getting further away they have been let down.
“It was always my view that Crossrail, in the end, would be a benefit to local people; however so far all we have had is flooded gardens; construction noise through the night; broken lifts; broken promises, disruption and delay.”
A report by the House of Commons public accounts committee recently blasted the Department for Transport and Crossrail for taking an “unacceptable laissez-faire” attitude to its eye-watering costs.
Eltham North councillor Charlie Davis has previously called for Greenwich Council to pressure the London Mayor for a new opening date. Responding to the latest Crossrail announcement, the Conservative said safeguarding local businesses would be vital in coming months.
He said: “Whilst the announcement of a new opening date is welcome, we’ve been in this situation before, therefore it is paramount the Mayor ensures there is no further delay and Crossrail opens no later than March 2021.
“In the interim, it’s vital that the mayor and the council work together to find solutions that help local businesses mitigate the impact the delay is having, particularly in Abbey Wood.
“These businesses are the backbone of our local communities and economy, and we need to act to ensure that they’re not just trying to survive until 2021 but are thriving.”
Three emergency cash injections have seen the cost of the route rise from £14.8bn to £17.6bn, with the first rise revealed in July 2018.
A recent report by the London Assembly has recommended Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown reflect “on whether he is fit to fulfil his role”.
Mr Brown told a panel yesterday he had the support of the mayor and that was the end of the matter as far as he was concerned.
A “robust and realistic plan” is said to have been formed by the new Crossrail leadership team and agreed by the construction company’s board to put the project back on track.
Tom Bull is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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