Elizabeth Line has seen ‘dramatic’ increase in people moving to a …

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

A neighbourhood has seen a “dramatic” increase in the number of people moving to it since the Elizabeth line opened, despite traffic in the area becoming “carnage” as a result of the better rail connections.

The Elizabeth line opened its purple doors in May 2022, and according to Transport for London (TfL) there are around 600,000 journeys a day on the entire service, with roughly 80 per cent of these trips being between Paddington and Abbey Wood in Greenwich.

One year on from its opening, Abbey Wood residents have spoken out about the new transport link.

A man browses the properties on offer at Your Move in Abbey Wood (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Nim Bhadare, 50, is the owner of Abbey Wood Minicabs in Wilton Road.

He said: “It’s massive for the area. It’s fantastic because the place needed regenerating. It had a small station not long ago and obviously the new one was built… It’s brilliant, I think it’s just going to get bigger and better. I think more and more people are realising now, and you can see the affluence of the area changing as well.”

The business owner said a large number of people have come to the area as a result of the new transport link.

But the station can often lead to traffic coming to a standstill on weekday evenings as people drive to make use of the faster rail connections to Central and West London

Mr Bhadare said: “If you come here at five o’clock, it tails back all up the hill, all down the road because people are coming to pick people up and drop them off… It literally is carnage around here at that time in the evening to get yourself out. But now it’s good [in general here]. There’s a lot more people about, I’m sure everyone’s benefitting.”

Wilton Road in Abbey Road, shown from the exit of the station (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Ahmed Afama, 55, works in Abbey Wood Dry Cleaners, also in Wilton Road. The shop worker said that he feels the area is coming up thanks to the Elizabeth line and has noticed a lot more workers moving into the area who may commute to Canary Wharf.

Mr Afama said: “There’s a lot of new people every day coming into my shop. My old customer is gone. In the last two or three months, he told me he’s left this area to go buy a cheaper house.”

Despite the new people in the area, Mr Afama said he hasn’t seen local businesses significantly benefitting from the new clientele. He also said the increased infrastructure seems necessary for the new flats planned for the area, which appear to be driving up prices.

Greenwich councillor Averil Lekau said: “The development of such crucial transport infrastructure supports the wider regeneration of the area, encouraging new housing and business growth, and giving local people access to new jobs and opportunities.”

Cllr Lekau said Greenwich council are working with the Mayor of London, Newham council and central Government to push plans for a DLR extension to Thamesmead.

She said the extension would have a similar impact on the area and give a much needed public transport link to the local community.

A TfL spokesman said: “The Elizabeth line is an integral part of the transport network and has seen more than 150million journeys since opening in May 2022.

“The railway is having a transformative impact, improving the lives of people who live and work in Abbey Wood, and boosting the connectivity to the area with 30,000 extra journeys made since the line opened a year ago.”

Pictured top: Ahmed Afama, 55, said he has noticed a lot more Canary Wharf workers moving into the area (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

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