Plans to extend the London Underground’s Bakerloo line further south through Southwark and into Lewisham have received a boost, with the government giving approval for the two boroughs’ councils to prevent development on sites that will be needed if and when the extension goes ahead.
The protection of sites for potential future infrastructure – known as “safeguarding” – needs to be sanctioned by the Department for Transport, and permission to proceed with this has been given by transport secretary Grant Shapps today.
The first phase of any extension to the Bakerloo would take the line on from Elephant & Castle, where it presently terminates, to two or three new stations in Southwark and to Lewisham beyond, with a potential second phase going further still into Lewisham borough.
The project cannot go ahead until the necessary funding has been secured, and this appears to still be a long way off. The extension was not included in TfL’s bid to the Treasury for infrastructure funding in the recent spending review. However, the safeguarding green light is described by TfL commissioner Andy Byford in his already-published report to Wednesday’s forthcoming TfL board meeting as “our immediate priority”.
It has also been welcomed by deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander, Southwark leader Kieron Williams and Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan who, in a joint statement, described the government’s move as “hugely positive”.
They also underlined their case that the proposed extension, together with an upgrade to the existing Bakerloo line, would “connect a historically underserved part of London to the Tube network, whilst supporting the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs.”
The scheme is described by those campaigning for it, who includes the two councils, as vital to the successful regeneration of the Old Kent Road and its surrounding area as well as linking Lewisham into the Underground network. A consultation last year showed that it could incorporate merging two existing Tube entrances at Elephant & Castle station as part of the redevelopment of the local shopping centre. TfL has also been looking at shortening the distance between the Elephant and Lambeth North station.
Byford’s report to the TfL board says the 2019 consultation and subsequent report on issues raised by it “highlight the high level of public and stakeholder support” for the project as a whole and for its “main worksite” being at New Cross Gate.
OnLondon.co.uk exists to provide fair and thorough coverage of the UK capital’s politics, development and culture. It depends greatly on donations from readers. Give £5 a month or £50 a year and you will receive the On London Extra Thursday email, which rounds up London news, views and information from a wide range of sources. Click here to donate directly or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for bank account details. Thanks.