Brent Council in row with Boris Johnson over crossrail charge

Council chiefs warn that the development levy will undermine vital investment and regeneration

COUNCIL chiefsare on a collision course with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson over his plans to enforce a charge on all developments to help pay for Crossrail.

Under the proposals, developers will have to fork out �35 for every square metre they build in Brent to help fund the new railway, which will link Heathrow to Canary Wharf and the City.

But Brent Council has slammed the charge, warning that it will discourage investment and undermine crucial regeneration projects.

In a letter sent to Boris Johnson, Chris Walker, assistant director of planning, wrote: “In the current climate this [charge] would make most if not all industrial development in places like Park Royal unviable. This denies the borough the regenerative development it so needs.”

He also warned that the levy will add a further strain to the town hall’s already depleted funds, as where developers struggle to pay the charge, the council will have to cut the money they receive from them under the section 106 agreement.

Under the agreement, builders agree to provide, or pay for projects which benefit the community, such as social housing.

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This has sparked concerns that Brent will lose out on vital contributions towards housing, new schools, and other community projects to fund a rail route which doesn’t go through the borough.

A Mayor of London spokesman said: “Crossrail is vital to the future economic success of the whole of London and every London borough will benefit.

“The Mayor has taken specialist advice to ensure that his proposed charging schedule is the simplest and fairest way to raise this element of London’s share of the Crossrail funding package. The charging bands reflect local house prices which is the best indicator of development viability and the Mayor believes that this will ensure that development across the capital will not be affected.”