|Developers signed up to transport challenge|
to pay a share of the costs for a major transport improvements in Wandsworth
Around 20 key sites are likely to be developed in the town centre over the next ten years. These could produce up to 4,000 new homes in a part of the borough where road and rail capacity is already stretched to the limit.
The council's programme of infrastructure improvements will include significant changes to the one-way system and a substantial upgrade of Wandsworth Town station.
To make sure that new development proposals take account of the extra demands they place on the local network, the council will set up a new transport challenge fund.
The initiative is expected to raise millions towards the cost of the new measures which will also require funding from Transport for London (TfL), the rail industry and the council.
TfL are currently drawing up plans for tackling traffic s in Wandsworth High Street. Any scheme would have to work alongside new residential and commercial projects.
While a new street level ticket office is now planned for Wandsworth Town station, the long term need is for longer or more frequent trains that can cope with the numbers of commuters travelling into town every morning.
The council is pressing Network Rail to bring forward the platform extensions that will make it possible to accommodate 10-car trains in the future.
The council has also identified new bus routes that can produce immediate benefits for local commuters. These are set out in a series of transport challenges for the new Mayor of London which the council launched this week.
Council leader Edward Lister said he expected the council's initiative to be welcomed by developers:
"This will be a working fund. The money we raise will be pumped back into the town centre. None of these new developments will succeed without increased investment in the facilities people need to move around.
"It will be backed by a constantly updated programme of transport priorities. By setting out our stall in this way we aim to galvanise other partners including Transport for London who hold so many of the purse strings."
While the fund puts the focus on transport schemes new developments will also generate demand for school places, affordable housing and health facilities. The council's approach to all these pressures will be shaped by its borough-wide planning strategy which will be finalised shortly in the Local Development Framework.
Major development sites likely to produce investment for the new initiative include Young's Brewery and the Osiers Road industrial estate. Longer term opportunities could include Feathers Wharf and the gasholder site.
Away from the high profile transport projects the council also wants to see coordinated action to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists together with more car clubs and river bus services.
February 19, 2008