By Michael Powell for The Mail on Sunday
Published: 00:35 GMT, 8 December 2019 | Updated: 01:03 GMT, 8 December 2019
The bill for the controversial taxpayer-funded Crossrail 2 scheme is set to soar by billions of pounds, according to figures revealed by chance – in a planning dispute between a landscape gardener and his local council.
The man discovered that completing the line across London will require the purchase of hundreds more properties than has been made public until now – including his own.
And that, he says, will cost billions more than the £1.16 billion originally allocated by the scheme’s planners to buy property and land along the proposed new line from South West London to Hertfordshire.
Gardener William Cooke (pictured) received an objection from Transport to his planning permission hoping to transform his garage into a new four-storey townhouse. The government office said his property is 'required as part of a worksite necessary to deliver the Crossrail 2 scheme'
The figures were obtained by gardener William Cooke, who has been embroiled in a planning dispute involving his home.
Mr Cooke and his wife Ann-marie applied to the London borough of Merton in December 2016 to demolish the garage at their £2 million home and replace it with a new four-storey townhouse.
To their surprise, Transport for London lodged an objection – revealing that their home would ‘be required as part of a worksite necessary to deliver the Crossrail 2 scheme’.
He submitted a Freedom of Information request which revealed 1,000 properties to be affected by Crossrail 2's plans. Mr Cooke said: ‘TfL is running an unofficial safeguarding zone much larger that it originally declared in 2015. They are not being truthful about how much land they need for Crossrail 2.’ [File photo]
The couple were stunned, having previously understood the house fell outside the so-called ‘safeguarding zone’ of earmarked land. Mr Cooke said: ‘We have been left in limbo. We can’t develop our property because underwriters will see that TfL has said it wants our home for Crossrail 2. And we can’t sell it because the mortgage companies will not lend people money for the same reason.