On Thursday March 22, Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for Transport, made a statement to the Crossrail Select Committee concerning an additional provision to the Crossrail Bill of a station at Woolwich. He said:
' ... The key to this has been Greenwich Council's recent proposal for a major revision to its spatial plan, to allow a significantly higher density of development at Woolwich. This, in turn, has prompted Berkeley Homes to offer a means of enabling a station to be built at Woolwich but, crucially, without adding to the current cost of Crossrail.
In light of this, agreement has been reached in principle with Berkeley Homes under which they will build the basic box structure of a station at Woolwich and then construct their own development overhead. This will all be done at their own risk, using their own money, to the specification laid down by CLRL, with a payment back to Berkeley Homes of the saving CLRL will make through avoiding other works at Woolwich, when it constructs the line there.
In due course, Berkeley Homes would then arrange for the completion of the station box to full operational status. Both they and Greenwich Council recognise that the completion of the station would be conditional on receiving sufficient funding contributions from those developers and businesses that stand to benefit from a Crossrail station at Woolwich. The contributions would be in addition to any London-wide Crossrail funding arrangements that may be agreed and no additional public sector debt capacity would be made available. Fit-out of the station could take place only once sufficient private sector contributions had been received.
More work needs to be done to flesh out this deal but the House can now have sufficient confidence that Berkeley and Greenwich Council have the commitment and the right incentives to do that. This is a very significant change from the position last October as there is now a clear way forward that can deliver a station at Woolwich without adding to the costs of Crossrail already identified.'
The Chairman of the Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill, Alan Meale, remarked: 'We are delighted that the Department has seen sense and accepted the Committee's decision. This is an enabling step and moves towards the Committee's strong view that a station at Woolwich is an essential part of the Crossrail Bill. We must move forward on this important matter.'