A director of the PR firm co-founded by Kingston Council leader Councillor Kevin Davis has been announced as head of the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission.

Sir Merrick Cockell, a non-exectuve Cratus director, will work with councils and businesses to “support housing and job creation” along the planned north-south route, the company said.

Sir Merrick, who led Kensington and Chelsea Council from 2000 to 2013, said: “This new railway is imperative to the future growth of the capital and across the UK.

“The growth commission will play a key role in helping ensure local development plans along the route meet their full potential.”

Coun Davis said: “Having somebody that I know, that I can work with and lobby with to make Crossrail 2 happen in Kingston has got to be a good thing.

“We need Crossrail 2 – our train services are at busting point. This is fantastic news for Kingston.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Liz Green said: “Is it an ace to get Crossrail 2 to Kingston, or is it a way to make sure we develop more and more housing?

“Is not Crossrail 2 and growth along the route intrinsically linked? [I have] not seen anything that says growth will be in affordable or social housing.

“If it is to pay for Crossrail 2, [there is] no incentive to make it affordable.”

Last October, Mayor Boris Johnson backed a regional Crossrail 2 route plan that would see high-speed trains visit five of the borough’s stations: Kingston, New Malden, Motspur Park, Surbiton and Chessington South.

Commuters would be whisked from Kingston to Tottenham Court Road in less than half-an-hour on the service, which Mr Johnson said was vital “for the capital to remain globally competitive”.

The scheme, to be completed by 2030, would be a boon to passengers who are currently packed, sardine-like, into suburban trains towards town.

Surrey County Council has launched a study considering the benefits of extending the route further into the county.