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Roll up! Crossrail land bonanza

More land value created by taxpayers’ investment which will end up in landowners’ pockets. This article in City AM describes a selection of luxury pads served by the new route where land prices are likely to rise sharply when the line opens in about four years time. Crossrail. as its name implies, runs across Central London, from Shenfield in the east to Reading in the west. For those wanting to make a fast buck, estate agents Jones Lang Lasalle have devised an interactive Crossrail Tool which enables you to work out what the likely price increases will amount to at each of the 38 stations along the line. Except that it leaves to guesswork the question of how much of the gain remains to be taken, since present prices will already have anticipated the effect of the new infrastructure.

Whether, at £14 billion, Crossrail is best value for money is another question again. It was originally conceived as a relief route to the Central Line and Circle Line between Paddington and Liverpool Street. That could have been constructed as another tube line and have been opened years ago at a fraction of the cost. However, such is the pace of growth of the London region that a  tube line would itself have been showing its inadequacies by now; indeed, how long will it be before Crossrail is overloaded?

That aside, it seems that politicians across the spectrum are comfortable with the idea of investing vast sums of public money and letting the beneficiaries laugh all the way to the bank. There is now a proposal for Crossrail 2, a north-south route from Tottenham to Wimbledon, with a price tag of £27 billion.