Croxley Rail Link Added to DfT Funding Considerations
Back in October, with the Spending Review in full effect, the DfT announced the fate of a number of local transport projects nominated by the now-defunct Regional Development Agencies.
With the funding pot now far smaller, the DfT announced that they had discarded many, and split the remaining projects into a number of groups.
Effectively these represented:
1) Green-lit schemes that will go ahead, subject to the relevant statutory requirements being met.
2) Schemes that have been confirmed, subject to a final financial negotiations with local authorities post-Spending Review (i.e. assuming the Local Authority can still afford it where their input is required)
3) The “development group” – schemes that will compete for part of the £600m pot that remains for the DfT to fund local authority projects with. Schemes here may require some further evaluation by the DfT, and Local Authorities will need to make final bid submissions for each scheme.
4) Schemes that could qualify to be part of the development group, but definitely require further DfT evaluation and may need to have their proposals reworked by the relevant Local Authority.
The Croxley Rail Link – which would see the Metropolitan Line extended to Watford Junction via Croxley – was one of the projects that fell into the fourth category. This meant that whilst it was by no means guaranteed to go ahead, the DfT felt it was worthy of an updated business case. If approved, this would see the project move into the third group where it could compete for funding.
Herts County Council duly resubmitted their paperwork, and have now confirmed that the DfT have moved Croxley into the development group.
This certainly doesn’t mean it is funded, but it does seem to demonstrate that the project’s almost python-esque ability to escape the DfT axe is still there.
Herts will now have to submit their final proposal for the scheme by September, after which a decision will be made. Concurrent with this, they have indicated that they will now work with TfL and Network Rail on the associated Transport and Works Act Order.
There are still plenty of barriers for the project to overcome if it is to come to fruition. It is by no means the cheapest project in the development group and this may count against it, no matter what the benefit analysis shows.
It is a step in the right direction nonetheless, and if nothing else, at least the project now has a rather impressive logo and website.
Thanks to JT and MA for the spot.