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Norris lines up design pledge for £2.2bn Crossrail project

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London transport supremo Steve Norris this week promised to match the architectural success of the Jubilee Line Extension with new plans for Crossrail, the longmooted east to west London rail link. And he demanded 'no compromises'on design despite the need to finance the project partly from the private sector.

The £2.2 billion Crossrail line was last week revived after the government announced a £25 billion public and private investment package for transport projects in London in the next decade. It will run from Romford in the east to Reading in the west with an underground stretch from Liverpool Street to Paddington and will mean new central London stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon as well as Liverpool Street and Paddington. 'There can be no compromises when designing for major city centre sites like these, ' Norris said. 'This must be better than the RER [a high-speed cross-town link] in Paris and better than anything we've done before.

When we do this it will be to the kind of standards that won Roland Paoletti universal acclaim for the JLE.'

But the Transport for London board member warned that the architects who drafted the original proposals for new stations in 1996 are not certain to receive commissions. Between 1993 and 1996 £100 million was spent working up designs for new ticket halls and platforms as well as determining the route of a twin bore tunnel under the capital. Thirteen practices were involved: BDP, Ralph Erskine Architects, Alsop & Stormer, Fitzroy Robinson, Allies & Morrison, John McAslan & Partners, Michael Hopkins & Partners, Hawkins Brown, Jestico + Whiles, Terry Farrell & Partners, Associated Design Group, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Bennetts Associates.

'We have to re-establish the credibility of the project and I think it would be wrong to say we would use the same architects at this stage, ' Norris said. A planning application under the Transport and Works Act will be made within six months.

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