WOOLWICH looks set to have a station on the £16bn Crossrail network.

Just three months after News Shopper launched its campaign for a station at Woolwich, transport secretary Douglas Alexander finally gave the decision everyone has been waiting for: the go-ahead for a Woolwich Crossrail station.

The transport minister made the U-turn last week after Greenwich Council and property giant, Berkeley Homes, submitted plans on how they would finance the costs of the station.

In October, last year, Mr Alexander refused to include Woolwich on the transport network due to its proposed £270m cost.

The move shocked residents, the council and the business community, who had been lobbying the Government for a station since 2004.

After Mr Alexander's announcement in October, the council has worked closely with Berkeley Homes to investigate how to meet the costs of the station - without having any impact on public finances.

News Shopper launched a campaign to include Woolwich in the plans for Crossrail last December.

In January, the council and Berkeley Homes submitted their detailed plans to the Government.

Berkeley Homes will build and pay for the basic box structure of the station and construct their own development overhead.

The station's fittings will be paid for by a combination of business contributions and Londonwide Crossrail funding contributions.

And last week, Mr Alexander agreed to having a station at Woolwich, providing it would not add to the overall costs of the Crossrail project.

It could mean thousands of new homes and jobs in Woolwich.

Crossrail would link Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex via Heathrow Airport and tunnels under London.

Construction on the project, which was first proposed in 1989, should start this year, with trains operational by 2015.

The Crossrail Bill could face further debate in the House of Commons.

Mr Alexander, said: "More work needs to be done to flesh out this deal.

"But the House can have sufficient confidence Berkeley and Greenwich Council have the commitment and the right incentives to do it.

"This is a very significant change from the position last October as there is now a clear way forward which can deliver a station at Woolwich without adding to the costs of Crossrail already identified.

"On this basis, I am now able to bring forward an amendment to the Bill to provide powers for this station.

"In due course, the House will be invited to agree a further instruction to the Committee in respect of Woolwich."

Deputy council leader, Councillor Peter Brooks, said: "It is very exciting we are getting a station at Woolwich.

"We are very grateful to all those who have helped us campaign for the station.

"Businesses and the press, mainly News Shopper, helped the minister to decide it was a good idea after all."

Berkeley Homes' urban regeneration project director John Anderson said: "I am absolutely thrilled.

"It has been hard work for the past six months, but we are delighted to have made our case and to have been heard.

"There will be a massive impact of regeneration in this area."

News Shopper Editor Jean May said: "This is fantastic news for our readers and the Woolwich community.

"Crossrail is an amazing opportunity for regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London.

"When we launched our campaign in December, we were confident the Government would see sense, and I am thrilled this is now the case."