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New rail line needed to tackle traffic at Brent Cross

23 January 2008
The huge planned Brent Cross development should include a light rail line in order to reduce traffic growth, according to a new report published by the London group of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Without the new line, the large residential and retail development would have a massive traffic impact: an extra 133,000 people and 29,000 extra vehicles are expected to travel into the area each weekday [1]. There are 8,000 car parking spaces in the existing shopping centre [2], 7,500 additional spaces planned in the new residential element and an untold number in the commercial elements of the new scheme. The highway network and road junctions in the area would have to be enlarged to cope with the extra traffic.

But a new rail line would connect and improve access to the existing Brent Cross tube station and a planned new Thameslink station, both rather remotely sited on the edge of the development. It would provide a public transport spine through the development from the existing shopping centre to the new residential and commercial district on the other side of the North Circular. It could then continue south to Park Royal, linking large parts of Barnet, Brent and Ealing, using existing underused railway lines and connecting the Northern, Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Bakerloo Tube lines, the overground and Thameslink [3].

Norman Beddington, chair of Campaign for Better Transport’s London group, said:

"Brent Cross is only one of 42 areas where the forecast growth in London’s housing and employment is to be concentrated. There’s already too much traffic. If they all increase traffic as Brent Cross will do, we are in serious trouble. We really can’t go on planning these developments as though no one had ever heard of global warming. We must plan for alternatives to the car, hence our proposal for a new Brent Cross rail line. This is intended to provoke debate." [4]


Notes to editors

[1] All information about the traffic impact of the proposed Brent Cross development is taken from the transport chapter of the Cricklewood, Brent Cross and West Hendon Development Framework, posted on the London Borough of Barnet’s website:

[2] For information about the existing Brent Cross shopping centre, including the number of parking spaces, see its website:

[3] The new line could use five existing stations and serve three new stations at Brent Cross and others at Gladstone Park, Taylors Lane and Park Royal Central.

[4] The Mayor’s London Plan identifies 42 Opportunity Areas and Areas for Intensification where many of London’s new jobs and homes should be located. Brent Cross is one of these.