Double boost for 'Vanhattan' of London

Reaction to news of planning permission for a new tube link to a huge London housebuilding zone and consent for the redevelopment of Britain's biggest wholesale market features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports on news that the transport secretary has given the go-ahead for an extension of the Northern line to Battersea and Wandsworth Council has granted planning permission for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market, including the construction of 3,000 homes. The newspaper says that the green light for the £1 billion Northern line extension ends "years of uncertainty for the project". It adds: "The Northern line extension is seen as a key element in the regeneration of Nine Elms because it will put it within a 15-minute tube journey from central London. Ministers promised in 2012 to give the project a state guarantee to help get it off the ground, but progress has been slow."

The Times (subscription required) says that approval of the New Covent Garden Market redevelopment "will further transform the skyline of the fast-growing Nine Elms area of London". "The residential development will include three towers that form part of the Vauxhall ‘tall building cluster’ and will add to the area’s reputation as the ‘Vanhattan’ of London," the newspaper reports.

The Guardian, meanwhile, says that the approved New Covent Garden Market redevelopment is one of several building schemes in the area on London’s south bank, "which together will provide more than 20,000 homes, including 3,800 at Battersea power station". "National Grid said this week it was to refurbish a nearby obsolete gasometer for accommodation. The new US embassy is also in the area,"  according to the newspaper.

London mayor Boris Johnson has rejected allegations of over-cosy relations between officials and a Chinese company chosen to run a multibillion-pound development project in London, "also denying any knowledge of claims the firm was involved in forced evictions in Beijing", the Guardian reports. The newspaper reports: "An investigation by Channel 4 News found that Advanced Business Park (ABP), the Beijing-based company selected to develop a 14-hectare complex of offices and shops at the Royal Albert Dock near London City airport, had close links to London & Partners, the official business promotion company for the capital, which is part-funded by Johnson’s mayoral office."

The Guardian also reports on a retired British Airways pilot’s proposed Heathrow Hub scheme, which it says "could expand Heathrow and break the impasse between the needs of airlines and businesses and public hostility over a third runway". According to the newspaper, Captain William "Jock" Lowe’s plan to lengthen an existing runway, which would involve sending the M25 through a tunnel, is an idea "sketched out on a napkin over dinner in Dubai a quarter of a century ago". The scheme is on a shortlist of three being considered by the government’s Airports Commission and "has chimed with some transport planners", the newspaper reports.


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