Ambitious calls for Crossrail to be extended though Bexley have been boosted as a leading MP lends his backing to plans for growth around the Thames Estuary.

James Brokenshire, Old Bexley and Sidcup’s MP and secretary of state for housing and communities, compared the scale of growth available to the Northern Powerhouse.

Brokenshire said:  “I’m excited by the bold and ambitious vision for the future of the Thames Estuary that’s been set out – as well as the clear-headed steps proposed to get us there. 

“I’ve been really pleased to see the scale of ambition from partners in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor – helping the area become a world-class centre for production with a focus on the creative and cultural industries.”

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Government backing for growth around the estuary will boost hopes in Bexley of an extension of Crossrail through the borough and out to Kent, which is central to the council’s own growth strategy.

“The Secretary of State’s visit demonstrates the importance of investment in the Thames Estuary,” said council leader Teresa O’Neill.

“London is key to the national economy and, with the right infrastructure, the Estuary has the land and connections to support its continued growth.

“Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet and into Kent is the completion of the original Crossrail proposal and needs to be prioritised.

“The route is safeguarded and the line can be completed more quickly and at significantly lower cost than other infrastructure projects. There is also a clear return on investment.”

Bexley’s own growth plans will see 31,000 homes – primarily in the north of the borough – by 2050.

Centred around an extension of Crossrail, a word which appears 32 times in the strategy, the council has been lobbying extensively for an extension to Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.

According to the Crossrail to Ebbsfleet campaign, Bexley’s riverside is “one of London’s most significant development opportunities”.

The government has committed £4.85m to help fund preparations for the widely supported scheme.

Crossrail was originally estimated to cost £15.4 billion and open in December 2018.

A series of delays has seen budgets spiral and a new opening window scheduled for October to March next year.