Chancellor George Osborne is expected approve plans for a new £190 million station to serve Barking Riverside, one of London’s biggest regeneration zones, as part of his Autumn Statement in December.
The plan to extend the London Overground is strongly backed by Mayor Boris Johnson and would give a huge fillip to the area, which is within the most affordable borough in London — Barking and Dagenham.
Average property prices are just above £250,000 but values could rise substantially if the proposal to create a two mile extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line is approved. Work has already started on the Barking Riverside development and there are long term plans to build 10,800 new homes, plus shops, cafés, restaurants, schools, sports facilities and even a church on a 443 acre site. So far some 400 homes have been built, and residents began moving in in 2012. Another 350 homes are under construction.
Demand for the homes appears to be strong, even without a local station. Earlier this month (subs: September 6) 48 flats were launched and almost half had sold within a week, at prices from £184,995 for a two bedroomed property. Another launch of 12 four bedroomed houses priced from around £300,000 to £315,000 is planned for October or November.
However, Transport for London warns that without the new station, allowing commuters to change at Barking and reach the City within around 40 minutes, the area can support no more than 1,500 new homes because of fears of traffic congestion on nearby roads.
Richard Burrows, managing director of Bellway Homes Essex, agreed that if the station plan fails there would be “doubts about the long term viability” of Barking Riverside. If it does go ahead, however, he predicted there would be “significant” price uplift in the area.
According to a recent study by Hamptons International homes within ten minutes’ walk of a London Overground station have increased in value by an average £90,000 (over and above local market increases) since 2007.
The scheme will be funded by TfL, the GLA, Barking and Dagenham Council and Bellway, but a Government loan of around £80m to £90m is required to carry out the project.
The GLA is currently consulting on the scheme and may face opposition from some local residents whose homes will be impacted by the new rail line - although Mr Burrows said no properties would need to be demolished.
If approval is given preparatory works could begin as early as next summer, with a train service up and running by 2019/2020.