Search

Boom or bust? A town ready to make most of new train link

12:00 16 August 2014

The new Crossrail trains will be rolled out in 2017. Picture: TfL

The new Crossrail trains will be rolled out in 2017. Picture: TfL

Archant

It’s been hailed as a catalyst to investment in Redbridge – and the Crossrail factor can already been seen in the borough.

While the new train line is not due to open until 2017, planning applications for homes and hotels in Ilford have begun flooding in.

But could easy access to the city leave it a ghost town?

Mike Crocker, vice-president of the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce, told the Recorder businesses were beginning to realise there could be a negative effect on the town if more is not done to draw people in.

He said: “Already people are realising that while people could be coming into Ilford, they could also be leaving Ilford.

“As good as it will be, it will be taking people out.

“You can see good reasons for having it, but we’ve got to give people something to come to.”

Massive opportunity

Despite his concerns, Ben Collins, manager of the Ilford Business Improvement District (BID), said there was “no question” Crossrail would bring investment into the town centre and its surrounds.

But he admitted the multi-billion pound line was not going to be a “magic wand” to bring investment into the area.

“Crossrail is happening. I look on it as absolutely positive and a massive opportunity for the town centre and the businesses around it.

“People are going to be looking for more affordable housing and places to stay.

“Once they are here, it’s our job to promote what’s in Ilford and make them stay a little longer.”

Mr Collins dismissed fears easy access to other parts of the city could have a negative effect.

“Of course people can get out to other areas quickly, but they are going to be able to get here quickly as well,” he said.

“If the shoe was on the other foot and we weren’t part of Crossrail, we would probably be up in arms.

“It’s got the potential to completely revitalise and transform what people think of Ilford.

“Even if they have plans to go elsewhere, they will spend a proportion of their time and money in Ilford.”

And he welcomed an influx of plans to build hotels in the town centre.

“It’s all more investment – these businesses don’t just buy these hotels on a whim, they know there’s demand.”

Cllr Helen Coomb, Redbridge’s cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said the council had been focusing on getting funding to transform the gateway to the town – Ilford Station.

“We are putting bids in to TfL to improve the area around the station,” she said.

“People are always going to come to Redbridge because of the good schools and access to the countryside and the city.

“Crossrail is a marvellous thing. It’s going to benefit the people who already commute from Redbridge and shorten their journey.”

Cllr Coomb also welcomed proposals for new hotels in Ilford, bringing in more jobs to the area.

“More hotels are a good thing,” she said. “I’ve already seen more people with their knapsacks, they are going to be spending their money here and the hotels will provide jobs.”

Nick Mann, from Crossrail, said the town had already been identified as one of the stops on the line with significant potential for growth.

“In the short term that means jobs and building opportunities. In the longer term it’s making Ilford a more attractive place for people to stay and people to visit. That’s what better transport links does for an area.

“We are making it easier for people to live in Ilford and get into central London or get to Heathrow, or get to Essex.”

He said the company believed Crossrail would draw people in to stay and work in Ilford, as well as living there, by improving the “perception” of it.

“The better transport links that Crossrail will bring will make it a better place to live and a better place to do business.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Ilford News Stories

51 minutes ago

A therapeutic garden is one of three environmental projects in the borough set to benefit from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.

Yesterday, 17:31
Cranbrook School in Mansfield Road, Ilford could close by July.

Parents were left shaking in anger after they received an email informing them their children’s school could close by July.

Yesterday, 16:56
Chris Penny and Gavin Happe are selling Ha'penny Brewing Co after seven years of making ales and bitters in Aldborough Hatch.

The borough’s only craft brewery has switched hands, and the bitters and porters will be replaced by dark Belgian beers.

Yesterday, 15:25
Seven Kings Station upgrade. Photo: Transport for London

Ilford Station’s York Road entrance will close on Monday February 22 until the middle of 2016 as work gets underway in preparation for Crossrail services.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe