TfL paper on NLE

TfL published the papers in advance of their board meeting of 27 March 2013, including a paper on the Northern Line Extension (found here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/corporate/Part-1-Item13-Northern-Line-Extension.pdf)

Comments by Malcolm Greeen of DATA below“As usual they have overplayed the results of local consultation.
And glossed over the alternatives.

I am certain the finances are being fudged. So the question is which body will be left holding the baby (= risk) and paying for any shortfall. It seems to be the GLA, see enclosed extracts with my comments.

The overall justification for this huge expenditure still seems weak. It is based on assertions from the previous owners of BPS and un-evidenced statements such as “NLE will catalyse development, homes and jobs in the VNEB area”. In fact the entire area is currently under a frenzy of rapid development, long before the NLE has been approved, let alone built. The evidence for the creation of 25,000 jobs seems particularly suspect.

As ever there is minimal reference to possible National Rail alternatives (there are 2 rail stations within 400 yards of BPS). There is no reference to an option to build a Crossrail 2 station at Battersea Park.

In more detail:

Paragraph 4.3 confirms the two streams of finance: the s106 payments from developers and incremental business rates from businesses in Wandsworth and Lambeth.

Paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7 suggest that the business rate increases will only be payable in a new enterprise zone that will extend only as far as the Nine Elms/Vauxhall/Battersea opportunity area. Crucially, this enterprise zone will not come with the other benefits one associates of an enterprise zone – broadband, planning deregulation – it is just a vehicle to levy money from businesses.

Paragraph 4.9 states that the businesses in this enterprise zone are expected to contribute ¾ of the cost of servicing the £1bn debt from the scheme but they expect the Battersea Power Station site to be a key contributor through the enterprise zone as well as the s106 payments.

Paragraph 4.10 outlines the amount that is expected from developers in the form of s106 payments. Crucially, they expect the Battersea Power Station to pay £200.1m, a fifth of the £1bn cost of the debt (which will surely need more to service it?). The footnote suggests that the owners are paying an extra £11.5m in other s106 contributions to other schemes – a small sum compared to other developments of similar size (Arsenal had to pay £100m in s106 agreements when they built their stadium in 2000-2005).

They will say that Battersea will pay £200.1m PLUS contributions through business rates to the EZ. That isn’t strictly true. The developers will pay s106 monies and their tenants will pay the business rates to the EZ.

Questions include:

W  What is the total rateable value of the site owned by the Malaysians in Battersea? If they are selling/letting residential/commercial/office space so for c. £2 billion, is a £200m contribution enough?

2)      Are enough s106 being extracted beyond the £200m?

3)      What lessons have been learnt from the Jubilee Line Extension? What if the NLE extension cost increases to £1.6bn, will the Malaysians contribute more than £200m?

4)      How many businesses are included in the enterprise zone and how much will their business rates go up by?”

(Also see  link to Vauxhall Society http://www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk/2013/04/northern-line-extension-nears/)

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