Crossrail 2 'could be delayed by a decade'

Reports that mayoral agency Transport for London (TfL) has privately warned that Crossrail 2 could be delayed by a decade, to the 2040s, feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) says that Crossrail 2, which would tunnel from north to south London, "has yet to receive the go-ahead from the government, as City Hall and the Department for Transport tussle over its cost". The paper says that "an unpublished business case submitted by TfL to the government earlier this year and seen by the Financial Times suggests that one way to raise the money required would be to delay the project from its originally scheduled opening date of 2033".

The Telegraph reports that the boss of CALA Homes "has hit out at 'understaffed' councils for slowing the pace of development as the firm reported a fifth year of record growth". The paper says that Alan Brown, chief executive of the housebuilder, said that he wants to see more "responsibility at a local level" for making sure development of new homes is able to go ahead. "The issue is about how central government gets local government to take their responsibility more seriously," he said. "At a time when the country desperately needs more homes, local authorities are cutting back on people."

The Telegraph reports that business group the Institute of Directors has said that the government "should assess the viability of cutting edge and even hypothetical technologies, including the hyperloop and maglev trains, in an ambitious overhaul of Britain’s transport network". The paper says that the group has called on chancellor Philip Hammond to "announce plans to study the new technology in his Budget next month, with potential connections on the new system including a route from Liverpool to Hull."

The Telegraph also reports that the government "is preparing to reignite Britain’s plans to develop a technology that can strip harmful carbon dioxide out of industrial emissions". The paper says that "plans to embrace carbon capture and storage (CCS) are the first to emerge since a billion-pound funding competition to fit coal power plants with the technology collapsed two years ago". The new scheme "will focus on helping to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and heating", the report says.

Writing in the Telegraph, former Tory leader William Hague calls for the Conservative Party to "embrace radicalism" to staunch the flow of support to Labour. Hague says that housebuilding is key to this. He writes: "Call in the big mayors and developers. Change regulations that stand in the way – for instance, allow micro-apartments provided they’re of high quality. Encourage major build-to-rent schemes, not just ownership. Make it a cross-party effort, showing that even a weakened government can give a lead and work with everyone."

The Financial Times’ architecture critic, Edwin Heathcote asks whether London architecture has "lost its radical edge". He writes: "The city’s current architecture is surprisingly conservative. Most of the hundreds of towers sprouting across the city, or about to, are clad in polite brick, a sop to planning officers who like buildings to ‘fit in’. Developers have resorted to a polite modernism — polite in materials if not scale — and need to sell their schemes, so that architectural response is a commercial imperative."

The FT also reports that fears of a "Brexit slump" in London’s commercial property market "have been replaced by the exhilaration of a dealmaking frenzy". The paper says that "trading of office buildings has ramped up and property agents are toasting some of the largest deals of their lifetimes". It adds: "Fears of a slump have been replaced by the exhilaration of a dealmaking frenzy, while landlords are reporting strong appetite in the leasing market."

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