Well, we should have known poor old Thamesmead would be deprived again.
Yesterday the Chancellor announced £290 million for the DLR to help build 18,000 homes. Given the strong push for an extension over to Thamesmead and the fact that the number of homes unlocked at Tripcock Ness/Tamesis Puint and other parts of Thamesmead was close to that figure, it seemed very possible that was focus for investment.
Sadly, it’s not to be. The money will apparently partly go into buying new trains. That’s not new news.
And quite odd, given TfL’s financial problems and recent history with Crossrail trains, it seemed likely they would lease them from a private company instead of purchase directly, much like rail franchises do (Southeastern, for example, own none of their trains).
TfL traditionally buy stock outright but have been forced to lease with Crossrail due to cuts. New DLR stock was expected to go the same way.
The rest of the money will go towards a new Thames Wharf station near Canning Town but the Silvertown Tunnel means that is a decade off.
Advanced plans for 1,000 at Peruvian Wharf just to the east of the planned new station have been scrapped by Sadiq Khan with developers unable to convince authorities that homes can be built beside a protected (but unused) wharf site.
In place of new homes the revised plan is for a huge lorry park with thousands of additional road journeys, which has seen some residents moving into the 3,000 home Royal Wharf development in uproar due to increased pollution.
The last chunk of money from £290 million is for Beckton Depot.
So all round, not very exciting. More trains (more than likely already announced), a station many years off serving less people than expected and some money for a depot.
This isn’t going to unlock that many homes. And of course, Thamesmead gets nothing again.
Maybe it never will get the DLR. Beckton gas works and adjacent retail parks are at least as big as Thamesmead’s Tripcock Point.
And plans have been drawn up for tens of thousands of homes there. The DLR can realistically only serve one of the two areas with frequencies as they are. If it goes to Beckton Riverside that’s already two branches north of the Thames. Surely three is too much, and one doesn’t need a tunnel or bridge over the Thames.