New Portobello Crossrail station:North Kensington house prices tipped to soar as council pledges to plug W10 into the Elizabeth line

A new train station in North Kensington has become more likely after Kensington & Chelsea council pledged to foot the “nine-figure” bill to link the area to the Crossrail network.

Tim Coleridge, the council’s cabinet member for planning policy, said that adding the area to Crossrail, which is due to open as the Elizabeth line in central London in 2018, would have a transformative effect on what is currently the most affordable area in the borough.

The Government and Transport for London have repeatedly declined to pay for a new station, which the council says would reduce journey times from North Kensington to central London by 20 minutes.

Council officers are in talks with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and property developer Ballymore — the main owners of the Kensal Gasworks land off Ladbroke Grove earmarked for the new station — about the future of the site, which is due to be decommissioned by the National Grid by next year.

“We want to develop the Kensal Gasworks with 4,500 new homes,” said Coleridge. “A station would be extremely expensive, we are talking about a nine-figure sum, but ... [when the development happens] ... we could afford to pay for the station ourselves out of the planning gain.”

The “planning gain” he refers to is the hefty payment a developer would make to local authorities as a condition of receiving planning permission. This money can then be spent on local improvements including education, open spaces — and transport links.

The new station is provisionally named Portobello Crossrail and would be built just off Barlby Road, close to the northern end of Portobello Road. It would be what is known as a “skip stop” station, with about four services an hour linking into the main Crossrail line, providing fast links to central London and the City.

Crossrail will be fully up and running in 2019 but Coleridge said the Portobello link would not open until several years later.

Ballymore would not comment on the plans, but Sainsbury’s confirmed it was discussing the project with the council, although a spokesman added that it was “too early to speculate” on the detail of its vision for the future of the site.

If Crossrail does come to North Kensington it would almost certainly mean a huge boost to local property prices.

At present it is the most affordable section of Kensington & Chelsea with average prices standing at £722,000, according to Rightmove. The average price in neighbouring Notting Hill is more than £1.4 million.

Paul Harris, branch manager of Greene & Co estate agents, said the station would be a “godsend” to commuters. “It is a much-needed piece of transport for people who work in the City,” he said. “It will absolutely make a difference to house prices.”


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