On my daily travels across London I constantly see signs for exclusive apartments 'coming soon' or' land required'. The heart and soul of London is being shrunk with smaller roads and gherkin esq sky scrapers taking over. Brixton has turned into a uber trendy snobbish urban dwelling and Peckham is next in line to be transformed. Coffee prices are soaring as well. And of course not forgetting our obsession with Chicken and Rib shacks with new restaurants opening every week. The London that I know and love dearly is being morphed into a money making conveyor belt for foreign investors who don't even live here.
What's happened to social housing and more council homes for working class Londoners who built this city, clean our offices, drive our buses and trains? They have been ignored and forced to move out to the suburbs. With constant growth in Outer London no plans have been implemented to improve or offer more transport connections in Watford, Romford, Croydon, Enfield, Kingston and other key outer bordering hotspots. More links are needed, local bus routes, extended train lines and similar initiatives to Crossrail. London is expanding and needs the resources to match the demand in growth.
One positive aspect of gentrification has been the expansion of London Overground. I remember when part of the existing Overground lines, Richmond-Clapham Junction to Stratford, formerly part of Silverlink (National Rail) was inadequate and the worst rail service in London. I would often have to wait an hour for a train then told it was cancelled, no drivers available or some other ridiculous excuse. They just didn't turn up. Most of the stations were unmanned and uninhabitable. Now we are provided with a turn up and go service which has been voted one of the best and reliable services in the country. My recent journey on the Overground from Brondesbury to Kensington Olympia took 20 minutes and only cost £1.50. The Overground has been expanded recently with TFL taking over the Liverpool Street-Chingford-Cheshunt lines. It's great news for regular passengers with cheaper fares, manned stations and newer trains due to be introduced soon.
The Overground is key to London's growth and future. I agree with Mayor Boris Johnson, TFL should be given more power to run all Inner London national rail lines and expand the Overground. More investment is required to allow TFL to expand their services. Some of the national rail services, rolling stock and stations are in dire need of refurbishment and vast improvement. They've been let to rot. It's shocking to note nothing has been done. Transport is a key factor to London's growth and development.
Beyond transport, housing needs to be affordable and available not just to the chosen few but every hard working Londoner regardless of their class or background. London's heritage need to be preserved. We don't want the next generation to think our beloved city was made exclusively for travellers and rich investors. We need to ensure London's heritage is preserved. But let's embrace life in the suburbs and take the best of London with it.