Bakerloo Line extension land to Lewisham protected – but does it mean much?
Land along the proposed Bakerloo Line extension has been safeguarded by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – though there is still no commitment to actually fund the project from Government.
Other proposed lines not expected for decades such as Crossrail 2 have similar safeguards so it’s not anything to get too excited about. What really matters is funding, and continual delays risk letting income go slipping. Just today I reported on plans to start homes at the Ruby Triangle this month. This plot will see over 1,100 when fully complete. Other sites have been approved and look set to commence without any funding allocated towards the project.
See also numerous developments now underway in Lewisham. One such development named Lewisham Exchange sees a 27-storey tower and includes an entrance to the Bakerloo Line if/when it’s built – but sizable contributions from many developments are absent.
Alongside developer funding, a capital project of this size requires central Government support and backing – and none is forthcoming so far. TfL also failed to list it as a priority when submitting a bid for funding to the Treasury last year.
Consultation on a potential Bakerloo Line route saw priority given to two stations along the Old Kent Road before a station at New Cross (where a ding dong between TfL and Sainsbury’s ensued) before terminating at Lewisham.
Another issue is new stock for the Bakerloo Line. Trains are currently nearing 50 years old and could remain in service for another 10-20 years. There has also been talk of reducing frequencies due to TfL funding problems as part of negotiations with central Government. If no approval is given for an extension in the near future, newly built homes will rely on buses for some time, and existing land will remain undeveloped. The clock is still ticking, almost 80 years after plans were first mooted to extend beyond Elephant and Castle.