Government to back Battersea Northern Line plan

AUTUMN STATEMENT: The government is to support the Northern Line extension to Nine Elms, chancellor George Osborne revealed today.

The government has identified 500 infrastructure projects for investment as part of a National Infrastructure Plan. Money for the plan will come from a mixture of the public purse and pension funds.

Included in the plan are 35 key infrastructure projects, of which Battersea Northern Line extension is one. Others include a new River Thames crossing at Silvertown, work on the Tyne & Wear Metro and a Bristol link road.

Osborne confirmed he had signed an agreement with the UK’s largest pension funds which will see £30bn pumped into major infrastructure projects over the next decade.

All options for more aviation capacity will be explored, except adding a third runway at Heathrow, potentially opening the door for a new Thames Estuary airport.

The chancellor of the exchequer also restated the government’s aim to speed up the planning system by putting time limits on the planning process.

Osborne also confirmed that the new enterprise zones unveiled in the Budget in March will now also benefit from capital allowances.

In addition, an extra £1bn is being allocated to the regional growth fund in England.

GVA senior director Ian Stringer said: “While it is clear the chancellor has not got an open cheque book, there was not nearly enough stimulus in the Autumn Statement to trigger speculative development of virtually any kind for a further three to five years.
“Development projects of any significance can take up to five years to plan and deliver. While a pledge to introduce new time limits for planning applications could be helpful, this has never actually been a deterrent to capable and determined developers. It is lack of development finance and appropriate levels of funding that continues to be the biggest obstacle.”