"Mexican stand-off" grips £100m Woolwich Crossrail project

The prospect that the £100m Woolwich Crossrail station would not be completed in time for the line’s opening, due to funding disputes, has sparked widespread condemnation.

Christian Wolmar, a leading transport commentator, told LondonlovesBusiness.com that it was a “Mexican stand-off” by the developers and went on to dismiss the controversy, saying “this box will not stand empty”.

“This is a Mexican stand-off and a bluff by the developers. This box will not stand empty. It was a late and correct decision to include a station at Woolwich, following excellent lobbying by the local MP, Nick Raynsford, and it is an important part of the Crossrail scheme,” said Wolmar, who is also seeking Labour nomination for the London Mayoral election in 2016.

“The scheme will greatly enhance the value of the homes being built by Berkeley and the various public bodies are right to try to ensure that the company pays its share,” he said.

Wolmar’s intervention comes as politicians have weighed in to condemn the funding deadlock, with Caroline Pidgeon telling Construction News that a failure to reach agreement would be a “criminal waste of public money” and a “real betrayal of people in South East London”.

The furore comes after it emerged that Woolwich Crossrail station could stand empty, if negotiations - between Berkeley Homes, the Department for Transport, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Transport for London - to fund the rest of its development didn’t come to agreement.

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