Network Rail ‘to offer developers land’

11 October 2005

At exactly the time the union is arguing that all sale of rail land be halted to examine if it could be used to enhance the freight network, Network Rail look poised to offer developers the chance of a £4 billion property bonanza.

It intends to hand over land in and around hundreds of stations to be turned into shops, offices and homes, using the money, it claims, to upgrade stations.

Network Rail chief executive John Armitt says the plans ‘fuse imagination with reality in order to leverage additional private capital into improving our assets’.

ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman was much more clear in his message. He said the plans amounted to ‘the misuse of public assets’.

‘When they sold the railway there were suggestions they had sold off the family silver – now, it seems, they have come back for the polish.

‘The public will ask whether this improves service, security or safety - or will it further line the pockets of developers?’

The union will discuss the development with MPs this evening.

Network Rail, a not-for-profit trust, owns more than 2,500 stations and is one of the country’s biggest landowners.

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