Greenwich Council’s finance chief has said she is confident that the borough will be able to pay its £15 million contribution to the cost of the Woolwich Crossrail station, after a report from council officers indicated that the town hall was £8 million short of the final total.
In 2013, the then council leader Chris Roberts teamed up with Berkeley Homes, the developer of the Royal Arsenal, to strike a deal with Transport for London and the government to pay for the fit-out of Woolwich station, which had been excluded from the original Crossrail funding package by both the Labour and Conservative governments.
The deal involved using about 40 per cent of all community infrastructure levy (CIL) payments from developers in the borough as well as a “roof tax” on schemes within a mile of the station, which is due to open in the first half of this year.
Most London boroughs use the complex CIL system to find major projects in their areas, with a slice going to neighbourhood projects. City Hall also has its own versions of CIL to pay for both Crossrail and the proposed Crossrail 2, with this money also collected by councils. The Woolwich station accounts for half the funds Greenwich receives.
Greenwich’s contribution was £15 million, to be paid by April 2023, with Roberts promising that the station would come at “no cost to our local council tax payers”.
However, money from developers has been slower than predicted, and last month, it was revealed that only £6.9 million in CIL and “roof tax” money had been raised.
The rest of the borough’s CIL money has been kept aside in case the £15 million target is not hit – raising the prospect of funds for other projects being reduced or cut altogether to pay for the station.
In a written response to last night’s Greenwich Council meeting, Perks said that the total raised for the station was now up to £8 million – and that there could be a possible £5.4m in other “roof tax” funds to come.
“I am confident that the amount will be settled in full,” she told Conservative councillor Spencer Drury in a written answer.
“To date the Royal Borough [sic] has transferred just over £8m. There is £5.4m in potential S106 [roof tax] money, secured for the fit out of the Crossrail station from schemes within 1 mile of the station, which will be collected where permissions are implemented, and payment trigger points reached.”
Perks confirmed that there was just under £5m in other CIL money available to make up any shortfall.
853’s story on the issue last month was followed up by other media outlets, including a BBC story published over Christmas which initially claimed there was a “funding crisis” over the station.
Perks said she wanted to correct “to correct inaccurate media reporting over the seasonal break”.
She also said that the council was looking to review the rates charged to developers in light of its poor income from schemes in the borough.
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