Crossrail project moves West

Wherever Crossrail goes a flurry of interest in property follows, with Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading proving no exception.

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Originally the project was going to terminate services at Maidenhead, but the Government has announced that the service will now extend to Reading.

Crossrail is Europe’s biggest infrastructure project and over 100km of track will link Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east to Reading and Heathrow in the west, via Canary Wharf, the City, the West End and Paddington. The project will cut journey times and aims to ease congestion and offer better connections in and around London.

The announcement is only ‘Stage 1′ of delivering Crossrail for Reading and Reading East’s MP Rob Wilson hopes that benefits will start to a later stage will have real benefits.

‘This first phase will not reap the full benefits that Crossrail can – and should – bring to benefit people and businesses in Reading and the wider region.’

The next ‘investment review’ will analyse the Reading Crossrail service a, potentially meaning fast and semi-fast services could be in place by 2020/21. It may be some time off, but Reading estate agents are already getting excited.

Andy Malone, Sales Director of Atlantis Property, says: ‘This can only be seen as positive news for Reading and the wider area, not only in terms of the eventual improvement in journey times between Reading and London, but more so as a clear indication of the level of confidence the Government has in the town by deciding that Reading will provide the West terminus for Crossrail.’

Recent research by agency Hamptons International showed that the proposed Crossrail route has boosted house buying activity and one in ten London sales are now within one mile of a Crossrail station.

Head of Research Johnny Morris, says the announcement will be ‘a boon for the local housing market’.

‘It will focus the attention of investors and optimistic owners on homes in the centre, driving demand into the city,’ says Morris.

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Crossrail has rejuvenated interest in larger more complex new development projects such as Southall Gasworks and the town centre redevelopment in Maidenhead, Morris says and he believes that Reading developers will benefit from the news but sounds a note of caution to potential investors.

‘Those thinking of piling into the Reading market would do well to bear in mind that Crossrail is unlikely to change journey times to Central London much though, and that it has had little impact on prices around stations outside of London so far. Buying well, as ever, will remain key to the success of any purchase.‘
West Streatley house in the village of StreatleyWest Streatley House is 10 miles from Reading and is being sold through Strutt & Parker

Developer Jonathan Cranley of Twyford-based Millgate  says the announcement is ‘fabulous news for Twyford and Reading’.

‘Leading agents were predicting 43% price rises for property on the original Crossrail line and I can see no reason why we will not see a significant pricing impact for us as we approach 2019. We are fortunate to be the only large developer in Twyford and news like this is very exciting for our business. ‘

Last year Millgate launched sales at a luxury development in Gerrards Cross, seven miles from the Burnham Crossrail station, which they say influenced buyers who invested knowing that their commute to London was going to be improved and the value of their properties would rise.

‘Twyford is already a highly desirable village with a good commute into London, great schools, good eateries and its own Waitrose. The arrival of Crossrail can only spell more good news for our village,’ adds Cranley.

James Finnis, head of South East office agency at JLL also welcomes the news which he says will boost commercial and residential development in the area: ‘Reading is a substantial office market, and take-up grew strongly in 2013.

Around a quarter of the space under construction speculatively in the Western Corridor is in Reading, reflecting the confidence developers rightly have in the occupier market. The extension of Crossrail will improve the prospects for these schemes and will encourage further development.’

‘Commuters are beginning to calculate the appeal of improved travel from 2017. Reading station has a huge catchment of commuters from some of Berkshires and South Oxfordshire’s villages and smaller towns. We expect this to be a bigger topic in the next few years. Next year’s biggest topic will be an election year and what impact this will have on the property spring and summer markets in 2015,’ says Barton.

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