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The Guardian: "Would Transport for London's property deal plans be a speculators' charter?"

"London MPs and others fear that new legislation could lead the capital’s transport body into disastrous ventures with property developers"

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"Delivered to parliament way back in November 2010, the Transport for London Bill is a small piece of nascent legislation making extremely slow progress - towards what could be very big trouble indeed. That’s the view of those with large concerns about key aspects of the Bill. By contrast, Transport for London (TfL), the government and Boris Johnson say it will mean a better-funded TfL and less upward pressure on fares. Either way, the issues raised are large.

The idea is to give TfL greater freedom to make money out of the land it owns. There’s plenty of that land: it includes more than 500 sites with the potential to be developed, from which a good £1b is expected to be generated over the next ten years. 

"The transport body is, in fact, one of the capital’s largest landowners, and few disagree that with London’s population booming, TfL’s government grant shrinking and property prices on the rise, it makes sense to squeeze more money from all that precious and pricey real estate.

"The arguments are about how, how far and with whom TfL should go down that path.

"... Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter characterised TfL’s involvement with Capco over Earls Court as being the origin of the unattractive parts of the Bill and an alarming pointer to the future (which includes another part of the Earls Court Project, as TfL owns a depot in the area).

"And it wasn’t only Labour MPs who were perturbed. Tory Christopher Chope, true to his history in London local government, said he’d prefer TfL to flog off its surplus land (as MOPAC is doing) but was firmly in favour of it sticking to its core business."

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