Elizabeth Line – a boost for Thamesmead or a bad thing?

Residents of a South London town are split over the newly-arrived Elizabeth Line as some said it was pricing them out of the area.

The recently opened Abbey Wood branch of the £18.9billion railway line means families in nearby Thamesmead can reach the business district of Canary Wharf in 20 minutes.

The opening of the line has made it easier for residents to get to other parts of the capital.

Thamesmead, which was mainly constructed in stages between the 60s and 80s, previously missed out being connected to the Jubilee line when it was extended to North Greenwich in the 1990s.

Daniel Heley, a producer for charity Greenwich Dance, moved into new offices, in the recently completed The Nest building overlooking South Mere lake – one of the many waterways Thamesmead was built around. Mr Heley said he thought the Elizabeth Line would give a boost to the area.

The 35-year-old said: “I think the Elizabeth Line is going to change the area a lot – it’s on the up. Peabody Housing Association are doing lots of work here and I hope the area will become more accessible to people and that they’ll come and visit.

“We moved from our offices in Charlton in May to here in Thamesmead. Most of our work is with the community in Greenwich but I think now we’re here we can start to build links with people in Thamesmead and bring more to the community.”

Life-long Thamesmead residents Katrina and Jane are less enthusiastic about the Elizabeth Line’s arrival. Katrina and her three children share a cramped three bedroom house with her parents because she can’t afford to rent privately in the area. Katrina, who is also a carer for her dad, said the opening of the Elizabeth Line meant rent prices had got even higher.

She said: “I can’t afford to rent so I’m at my mum’s and dad’s house with the kids. I’ve not had the opportunity to use the Elizabeth Line yet. I can only see us using it when we need to get to the station to go see family in Doncaster. I think overall it’s a bad thing. It has dragged the rent prices up.

“If I wanted a place, I’d have to move to Kent or Medway. But there are people moving back into London I know who’ve done that because crime is so bad there.”

Jane added: “People like us have lived in Thamesmead all our lives. Why should we have to leave to get a property? I see all the development in South Thamesmead and we’re losing green spaces because of high rises there. People want to live there because of the transport connections but it’s not us.”

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