Rumours Crossrail could be delayed past March 2021 are growing as the leader of Bexley Council stressed the need to get the line open.

With a new date being pencilled in for sometime between October 2020 and March 2021, Crossrail faces being more than two years late when it eventually opens.

Reports have emerged this week that that date could also be missed for some sections of the line heading west.

Abbey Wood, sitting on the boarder of Bexley and Greenwich, is the furthest station out in South East London.

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Traders and businesses in Wilton Road, close to the new Elizabeth Line station, have already spoken out over feeling “crucified” by the constant delays.

At a full council meeting on July 17, Bexley Councils leader Teresa O’Neill said the line could be delayed even further.

She said: “Delays are considered to be from September 2020 to March 21. It has been suggested it might be pushed out more, frankly we need to get it open as it will bring a lot to Bexley and to that area, and we need to get it built on out.”

Bexley’s growth plans are centred around having an extension to Crossrail through the north of the borough and out to Ebbsfleet.

On the progress the campaign has made so far to secure that extension, the leader added: “As members know, there is £4.85m that has been allocated to get on and find solutions for that which we are getting on with.

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“The secretary of state, James Brokenshire, has said that not only is the money being put forward, but there will be a board created to take this forward. The governance will be three from London, three from Essex and three Kent and I have been nominated for that. We will be at the table.”

Bexley is planning 31,000 homes by 2050, primarily in the north of the borough along the river, along with new neighbourhoods and transport structures.

The authority is currently setting up a housing strategy setting out how the major developments should be built, expected to be published in draft form later this year.

“We all know how important housing is. We are setting up a housing strategy that will be about shaping the future of our borough. We either take control and shape growth or it will shape growth and our borough will change without us realising it”, the leader said.