With less than a week to go until the government spending review, I can assure you that the continued growth of this area relies heavily on sustained infrastructure improvements and appropriate investment from the government.
The potential for a timeline change to the infrastructure budget for the Holborn Tube upgrade and Piccadilly line improvements could result in a delay to the execution of these projects, leading to serious ramifications for the economic prosperity of this area.
Midtown is recognised as a major district for growth, serving as a base for some of the world’s biggest companies, due to its central location and excellent proximity to the rest of London. As a result, international developers are recognising the huge potential of the area, with many set to continue to invest heavily over the next five years.
There is huge expectation that the improvements are guaranteed to proceed in the very near future. If there is a delay, investor and business confidence in this area will diminish and potential economic growth will be lost as a result. We need to act now.
Holborn station already sees 186,000 passengers every weekday and these commuters have to endure huge queues, of sometimes up to 25 minutes, as part of their daily routine. The station already suffers temporary closure due to overcrowding at current capacity. There is a risk that this could increase to permanent closures at our busiest times, especially as by 2031 we are due to see a 50% increase in passengers. Waiting another number of years for improvements to our infrastructure, as the government is proposing, would be catastrophic.
We also need to bear in mind the imminent arrival of Crossrail in 2018, which will bring thousands more people into the area. This is an extremely welcome influx, but one that can only be supported if we see delivery of the planned improvements within the agreed timeframe.
Furthermore, it’s not just our workforce that we need to consider. Tourism is a sector that has seen its GVA contribution grow at an annual rate of 11% since 2009 and Midtown boasts some of London’s biggest tourist attractions such as the British Museum.
London is a world-leading city, but this is threatened by these cuts; the government needs to commit to the previously agreed infrastructure budget and execution timeline for the projects if they want us to maintain our position, because a city without adequate infrastructure is not a city at all.
Tass Mavrogordato, CEO, inmidtown (BID for Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles)