Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Lewisham, Old Kent Road, Transport

Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham delayed – will it ever happen?

It’s bad news for those hoping for the Bakerloo Line extension from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham as TfL’s submission for funding from central government excludes the project.

They state the organisation are “being realistic about what is affordable over the next decade”. At best the project wasn’t due to open until 2030. Now it will be later.

Work now underway on tower beside Lewisham station with new entrance

This throws many housing plans into doubt as well as plans to alleviate overcrowding on Southeastern rail for the next 10+ years.

New entrance to tube and rail in new tower

A tower rising at this very moment beside Lewisham station has a new station entrance included for a future Bakerloo Line station.

Another Lewisham development now underway

This doesn’t only impact the Old Kent Road and Lewisham – but all towns served by rail lines through Lewisham. It was supposed to alleviate Southeastern routes serving towns such as Sidcup, Kidbroke, Eltham and Charlton. By 2030 Charlton should be well on its way to seeing 8,000 new homes in the town’s new masterplan.

Prior plans

An extension to Camberwell from the current terminal at Elephant & Castle was featured on transport maps as early as the 1930s before cancellation, and now almost 90 years on history looks to be repeating. Signs showing an extension existed in Warwick Avenue station platform into the 1990s. Maps from the 1930s featured an extension:

Extension was featured on maps almost a century ago

In recent years a number of towers and large developments to cater for London’s growing population have been approved along the Old Kent Road, with 7,942 homes approved since 2015 and more coming thick and fast.

The line and housing is supposed to assist with population growth. In 2015 London surpassed its previous population peak of 8.6 million seen in 1939 – and is growing by 1 million people per decade. The estimate is now up to 9+ million people.

Berkeley Homes’ tower on Old Kent Road

England and London lagging

This latest delay is yet another example of painfully slow progress on infrastructure in London and the UK to cater for increasing numbers of people. Well, England to be more specific. Now Scotland is devolved, electrification of rail and opening of new lines – such as the Border Line – are racing ahead of similar English plans under the control of Whitehall.

Despite heavy lobbying, it’s almost 10 years since Network Rail recommended extending the Bakerloo line.

Cantium development off Old Kent Road

Years of consultations produced a final route:

Bakerloo extension future station sites

Residents were already likely to move in with no transport improvement for half a decade – and now that looks indefinite. Here’s a list of some major plots:

Cantium was approved in March 2019 and features 1,113 homes, including 237 at social rent level.

Ruby Triangle includes 2,100 homes with the latest plot approved in June this year.

Ruby Triangle

Southernwood Retail Park: 724 homes approved in June 2019 opposite Burgess Park on retail barns and parking. Plans include a cinema. Developed by Glasgow City Council for the Strathclyde Pension Fund.

Malt Street: 1,300 homes approved in a development by Berkeley Homes.

London Square: 406 homes on the former site of Crosse and Blackwell factory in the Rich Industrial Estate

Carpetright: 260 homes approved June 2020

TfL state they seek to protect planned sites – which could see major plots lay empty for up to a decade.

Sainsbury’s withdrawn plans at New Cross

At New Cross a long running argument between Sainsburys and TfL has ensued as to station location. Sainsburys proposed and withdrew plans. What now?

A further delay now leaves two scenarios; either developers pull the plug which does little for housing problems, or they proceed and existing limited transport options prove inadequate with resulting overcrowding and congestion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. I’ll either be dead or too old to care.

  2. Raw Copy

    I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a pity the penny hasn’t dropped on cancelling HS2 yet, but that’s not in TfL’s gift.

    At least the extension was supposed to relieve the burden of limited transport options given the ill-thought out mushrooming of flats in the southeast, with councils always agreeing to increase the original number of storeys planned for a block.

    It’s a very obvious ruse. Once the developer breaks ground it asks for a massive increase storeys and so the council rejects it. A lower figure is settled on, which gives the impression of being modest by comparison, when, in fact, it’s still quite substantial and amounts to a stitch-up, as these additional storeys would not have been accepted in the original planning proposal.

    Using this approach, the developer gets extra from having more properties to sell and, as a consequence, the council gets more from the additional council tax and yet passes itself off as having curtailed a significant overreach by the developer.

    But I digress, the Extension Map in the article is not the same one that appears on the TfL site now. This shows the route beyond Lewisham going south only. The ‘Future Extension Possibilities’ arrow going southeast is not there any more.

    https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/how-we-work/planning-for-the-future/bakerloo-line-extension

    If this was the future route beyond the initial Bakerloo line extension, then someone needs a compass.

    My understanding is that the idea of the extension was to relieve congestion in the southeast, so to get to Lewisham, which, as the crow flies, is only 5.5 miles from the West End and then head south to Bromley, does not address the transport problems in the southeast.

    As the article states: “It was supposed to alleviate Southeastern routes to Dartford serving towns such as Sidcup, Kidbrooke, Eltham and Charlton,” places which are definitely in the south and very much in the east.

    The initial extension delays may serve to allow clearer heads to consider the ‘Future Extension Possibilities’ with more discernment as they observe the needs of a burgeoning population in the direction of the southeast and decide against the easy option to just head south less than six miles outside of central London.

  3. Roy

    The Govt being the Govt always talks the talk on transport and housing but as we have seen over the last 20 years housebuilders will only build when its worth their while…and we only have to look at Greenwich Council and their Transport Plan to see a nightmare with no clear lines and aims…just a Green Agenda that they decided on…delegation is all very well from Central to Local Govt but when all we see is conflict there’s hardly likely to be common sense and constructive ideas

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