Failing to provide a long-term funding deal for TfL would be “an extraordinary act of harm” by the Government, the leader of Southwark Council has said.
Southwark is one of the boroughs set to lose out as a result of TfL’s current financial situation, with the proposed extension of the Bakerloo Line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham looking increasingly unlikely to materialise.
The project had been kicked into the long grass earlier this year, with TfL commissioner Andy Byford revealing in March that it was “on hold” along with several other projects until further funding could be secured.
Mr Byford had said that the Bakerloo Line extension and Crossrail 2 – the proposed rail link between Hertfordshire, London and Surrey – “had good business cases”, but that TfL’s focus would be “to finish what’s already started”.
But Sadiq Khan last week said that those projects were now seemingly “completely out of reach”, with TfL facing a period of “managed decline” beyond 2023.
Kieron Williams, leader of Southwark Council, has said residents of the borough face being “cut off” while Londoners more generally are “set to lose the basic freedoms of travel, housing and clean air”.
He said: “The case for Government investment in London’s transport could not be clearer. We need to get our economy going, to clean up our toxic air, to deliver more homes Londoners can afford and to tackle the climate emergency. We already have the transport projects lined up in Southwark and across London to do that; whether it be the thousands of jobs and homes that the Bakerloo Line upgrade and extension would deliver, or the thousands lives and tons of carbon emissions we will save by making our busses electric and enabling even more Londoners to walk and cycle.
“For the Government to instead force a £1.7 billion cut to TfL’s finances would be an extraordinary act of harm.”
The proposed £3.1 billion extension would see the Tube line extended from Elephant and Castle to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, creating two brand-new stations along the route at Burgess Park and Old Kent Road.
Just three weeks ago, TfL instructed contractors to begin drawing up tunnelling plans for the Bakerloo Line extension, suggesting it intended to proceed with the project.
TfL has continued to maintain it “remains committed to delivering the scheme” and has previously explored the idea of taxing landowners along the route to raise funds to deliver the scheme.
The proposed route for the extension was safeguarded in March following guidance from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The guidance ensures the land required for tunnels and new stations will not be developed for other purposes.