Since its opening in May 2022, commuters in South London have flocked in droves to board the new Elizabeth line offered by Transport for London – with over 60million journeys being made on the service in its first six months.

Southeastern Railway bosses have said the service saw twice as many passengers as its other rail services in that time and called it a “tremendous success”, at a Greenwich Council transport meeting last month.

While the Elizabeth line has been a welcome transport addition for many – with wider, more accessible carriages, air con and quicker travel times -the service is not without its downsides locals say.

One resident of South London fears the new service may be attracting the wrong kind of individuals to his neighbourhood.

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Clive Mardner, living in Abbey Wood, asked Greenwich Council last week if it planned to add a policy to prevent the oversaturation of HMOs [Houses in Multiple Occupation] in certain areas.

The resident said he and other residents had noticed a “proliferation” of HMOs in the Abbey Wood ward, where the Elizabeth line terminates along its southeastern route.

In his question to Labour Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins, Mr Mardner said: “The growth in Abbey Wood could be as a result of the Elizabeth line attracting rogue landlords, who are unfortunately, attracted by high income from HMOs.

"For those areas which have seen an increase in applications, there has also been a significant increase in the number of complaints and environmental issues.”

Cllr Cousins responded by saying a consultation on housing across the borough will be carried out this spring, followed by work on a policy to limit the saturation of HMOs in the borough.

The cabinet member for community safety also provided data on the number of HMOs in the Abbey Wood ward, which included 22 confirmed and 14 suspected HMOs.

The councillor said: “I am all too aware of the concerns around the proliferation and quality of HMOs in the borough… 

"Part of this work will consider how we strengthen and develop a policy related to HMOs including considering the evidence needed to underpin a saturation policy, amongst other issues related to land use and quality of HMOs.”

Mr Mardner also asked the council at a meeting on March 29 for information on the number of HMOs in other wards across the borough to compare with Abbey Wood. Labour leader Anthony Okereke agreed to provide Mr Mardner with the data.

The council leader said: “It is important that each and every councillor encourages all their residents to report illegal HMOs.

"Illegal HMOs plight our communities and make them live in environments that are not good for their welfare. So if you see an HMO or you suspect one, please do report it.”