NEWS a much delayed scheme to provide a high-speed rail link between east and west London will go ahead has been greeted with open arms from all sides.

Crossrail got the green light from Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday, October 5, after a £400m funding gap was plugged by the City of London Corporation.

Building is not set to start until 2010 on the £16bn project, and economists predict it will create 30,000 jobs, and generate billions for the economy, when it is finished in ten years' time.

Ealing Council leader Jason Stacey hailed the development as good news at a council meeting on Tuesday, October 9.

He said: "This is good news for the borough, but the task now is to make sure it benefits all parts of Ealing, not just a few.

"I believe it will be the final nail in the coffin for the West London Tram scheme."

When questioned on his plans to tackle local congestion in Ealing, Cllr Stacey said: "We cannot put in a scheme that would cause more congestion, as the tram would have.

"Crossrail will increase capacity on the trains for east-west flow, but we see popular bus routes like the 607, which goes up and down the Uxbridge Road, and it is clear we need to integrate our bus and rail links."

Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, was also positive about the Crossrail initiative.

He said: "I think it is wonderful news. My whole election campaign was based on getting Crossrail, and now it seems the funding has been agreed.

"I will push to get it started as soon as possible."

Critics fear the project may cause massive disruption to rail services and force up property prices in outlying regions of the capital.

Some also feel the extra money coming from big business may lead to smaller stations on the route, which will include Southall, West Ealing and Acton Town.

The scheme will mean Ealing Broadway station will be redeveloped, which is welcome news to disability access campaigner, Sian Vasey, who works for the Ealing Centre for Independent Living.

She said: "This is brilliant news for disabled people, as it will at least mean access to the station, which people in wheelchairs cannot use at all at the moment.

"A lot of people feel the same as we constantly get complaints about it.

"At the moment it is not just hard to use, it is impossible."

West London Business, an organisation that represents businesses throughout west of the capital, has also welcomed the development, and claim it will provide a major boost to the local economy.

Frank Wingate, the organisation's chief executive, said: "It is critical to this part of London that as much as possible is done to ease the severe congestion on our roads and railways.

"Congestion is the number one problem for business in west London and Crossrail will ease some of the pressure.

"It is a visionary solution and we hope this signals a closer look at west London by central Government, so that they continue to put more investment into this key economic area."