Is it time to invest in London’s transport infrastructure so it can grow?

When people outside of London consider its transport infrastructure, the general impression is that with the underground, bus and train networks each corner of the city is well served. In fact there’s a deep divide and it runs from East to West. Increasingly, business groups are arguing that if London is to become a truly integrated and growing city there needs to be a greater level of investment in the transport networks of East London.

It is not as though there are a dearth of developments taking place across the capital. A fifth of those underway are towards the east of the city; Tower Hamlets, Newham and Greenwich. Everyone knows London needs more homes and the ground that’s ripe for this housing development lies in the East of the city. By improving transport infrastructures it makes this regeneration more holistic and more likely to benefit both people and business. Large scale regeneration has already taken place towards the East, from the Olympic Park in West Ham to Canary Wharf.

Yet there needs to be more. The road network isn’t as strong as it needs to be. Think of regeneration to London Blackfriars and now think of the available crossings further east: There are 22 river crossings west of Tower Bridge, compared to two towards the east. Half of London’s population lives to the east of Tower Bridge. Regeneration and building needs to spread.

What impact does this lack of investment have? It holds back both growth and the ability to create jobs. When it’s difficult to get around, for example if you’re stuck in yet another of the delays in the Blackwall Tunnel, you’re put off upping sticks and moving your business to the location. Who wants to work somewhere that’s difficult to get to? Logistics are more expensive, the time taken to make deliveries and get from A to B is longer. It’s more expensive in terms of both money and time to get the same job done.

With locations dotted across both east and west London, Clarendon has a good vantage point to examine what works and what doesn’t. A significant proportion of our property portfolio is towards the east of the city from serviced apartments in Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge and Spitalfields so we can see the benefit of improving the transport infrastructure. The development of CrossRail is a definite sign that things are moving in the right direction.

Better transport links on both road and rail would make it easier for our customers to travel around the capital, and that can only be a good thing. If London is going to continue to grow it has to grow along equal lines so the wealth is spread equally across the city.

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