Northern Line Extension to Battersea; Infrastructure Investment to Enable Development and Land Use Change

Northern Line Extension to Battersea; Infrastructure Investment to Enable Development and Land Use Change


Chris Porter, Transport for London


An extension of London Undergrounds Northern line to Battersea will enable a significant change in land use in the last major area of brown-field land in central London, transforming it into a sustainable residential, business and leisure district.


The proposed extension of London’s Northern line from Kennington to Nine Elms and Battersea represents London’s first major tube extension since the Jubilee line was extended to Canary Wharf almost 15 years ago. The £1bn scheme which was subject to Public Inquiry in November / December 2013 was promoted by Transport for London (TfL) with the support of the London boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth and will be the key driver behind the development of central London’s last significant area of brown-field land.

The scheme has been developed as part of a comprehensive and integrated planning framework for the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea (VNEB) Opportunity Area (OA) as identified in the London Plan; the spatial development strategy for London. It covers 195 hectares and is located on the south bank of the river Thames between Waterloo to the north and Chelsea Bridge to the south. It is within sight of the Palace of Westminster and contains the iconic Battersea Power Station.

Despite its prominent location, the OA has remained undeveloped for many years, with the Battersea Power Station site in particular being subject to several failed redevelopment attempts. It is only with the planning framework in place, underpinned by the NLE that the OA has been able to develop as part of central London, with all the benefits this entails including a resultant high public transport, walking and cycling mode share, rather than a low density suburb.

The NLE is the central element of an integrated transport package that will enable the OA to develop sustainably and support central London densities through the provision of 24,000 new jobs and 18,000 new homes, of which 14,000 jobs and 5,600 homes are directly attributable to the NLE and would not be able to occur without the scheme in place.

The NLE makes it possible to turn the VNEB area into a high density location with associated high productivity allows it to play a full role as part of central London. This cannot be realised without the capacity of the NLE to deliver people to jobs and jobs to people. Highlighting the value of investment in the right infrastructure and the link between land use and transport, the NLE will deliver significant economic benefits and the jobs created will generate more output than if created in other lower density locations in London. New investment will be attracted to the area that will create jobs that otherwise would not exist and roles will be created for disadvantaged and unemployed people who would otherwise be unable to work.

Furthermore, in recognition of the increased value of the area resulting from the scheme, the NLE will be entirely funded by the development that it enables, which is the first time that this has been achieved in London or the UK. This approach reflects the fact that, as well as a transport scheme, the NLE is also a regeneration scheme that will increase accessibility across the VNEB OA, increasing land values and making development (particularly commercial development) more viable. This uplift in values is captured through the developer contributions and incremental business rates which are used to fund the costs of the infrastructure (the NLE) needed to enable development in the first place.

A decision whether to grant powers is expected to be made by the UK Secretaries of State for Transport and Communities and Local Government in Summer/Autumn 2014.

The Paper to the conference will expand upon:

• The direct link between the investment in the NLE and the development of VNEB OA.
• How the NLE encourages economic growth in London and the wider UK economy by making possible a major new sustainable residential, business and leisure district.
• The connectivity and accessibility improvements brought about by the scheme and how this facilitates the integration of the VNEB OA into central London and generates the density of occupation which characterises the central area.
• The funding mechanisms employed to generate the finance for the scheme, how the developments enabled by the NLE pay for its construction and how this could be applied to other schemes
• An update on the current status of the project
• How the experiences of the NLE can inform the development of other infrastructure projects.


Association for European Transport