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Big Debate: Was the Newham rezoning good for the borough?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:37 13 January 2016

Stratford Station, which is now in Zone 2/3                    Photo: Stephen Pond/PA Images

Stratford Station, which is now in Zone 2/3 Photo: Stephen Pond/PA Images

PA/Press Association Images

This week's debate asks what going from Zone 3 to Zone 2/3 will mean for seven of our stations.

Commuters in the western half of the borough greeted 2016 with a big smile as Stratford – alongside Star Lane, Abbey Road, Canning Town and West Ham – went from Zone 3 to Zone 2/3. The changes mean travelling into central London from these stations with an annual ticket will cost £224 less than from Zone 3. Monthly tickets will go from £146 to £124.50, while 7-Day tickets will fall from £38 to £32.40. But is it all good news? We asked our debaters: Is the rezoning of Newham stations good for the borough?

Gianluca Rizzo, manager of Stratford Original

Gianluca Rizzo and Rachel CollinsonGianluca Rizzo and Rachel Collinson

Stratford Original, the Business Improvement District for the town centre, is keen to ensure that the change is happening in the area is managed positively and that local businesses can benefit from it.

By investing in the town centre to create a cleaner, safer and more welcoming environment, we aim to ensure Stratford becomes one of London’s best places.

As the manager of Stratford Original, I believe the rezoning of Stratford station is a great opportunity for the area as it will unlock even further investment and growth.

By reducing the costs of commuting and thanks to the fantastic transport links, the wider Stratford area is becoming even more attractive as a destination.

Furthermore, with a cheaper commute from and into Stratford, new local and international visitors can explore the town centre and neighbouring area – and contribute to the local economy.

With even more town centre users coming into the area, the BID will be introducing street ambassadors who will be meet and greet visitors and ensure that Stratford is perceived as a as a welcoming and friendly place.

Stratford has now moved the centre of London eastwards with private and public sector organisations and universities re-locating here, bringing new jobs and added spend into the area.

More opportunities will be available for local residents and businesses.

One of the key aspects of the work the BID will be delivering over the next years will be to raise the profile of Stratford as a cultural destination and showcase the fantastic offer we have in the town centre.

With the rezoning of Stratford station and the introduction of the night tube later on in the year, I believe that more opportunities will open up for the local residential and business communities.

Rachel Collinson, chair of Newham Green Party

Newham Green Party send our congratulations to Labour on securing a rezoning of some stations in Newham from Zone 3 to 2/3. This is good news for commuters who need to travel into central London – saving hundreds of pounds a year.

However, for those of us in Newham who rent and cannot afford to buy, there is a big catch. As more people choose to move into the area to take advantage of cheaper transport costs, rents will go up again. Furthermore the dangerous overcrowding at Stratford station will continue.

Newham Green Party are already seeing friends and valued community members move out of the area because of the rising cost of living. Currently 2-bed flats in Stratford are reaching the giddy heights of three quarters of a million pounds in cost. You’d need to have a deposit of £75,000 to even have a hope of buying. And even so-called “affordable” homes would still be over half a million pounds! Who has that kind of money?

And so the social cleansing of London will escalate. While our Labour councillors say “people have to move out of areas – that’s London” rather than listening to the interests of current residents; the heartbreak of families being broken up, jobs lost, and children’s education disrupted.

Green Party candidate for London mayor, Siân Berry, is the only mayoral candidate who is a tenant.

She can sympathise with those of us in a precarious living situation, unlike the other mayoral candidates who are already wealthy property owners.

The Green Party’s policy is to abolish travel zones on the London transport altogether by 2025.

Removing the effective financial penalisation on Londoners who live in outer zones and travel in for work. When combined with rent controls and priority funding for cycling, these policies would truly ease London’s cost of living crisis. This would make London a fairer city for everybody.

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