London’s Santander Cycle Hire to be expanded: Southwark fund using developer income

Transport for London have today announced that 500 e-bikes will be available to hire from 2022 in addition to 14,000 regular cycles.

However, there is still no word of any cycle hire stations in much of south east London including Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs despite Cycleway 4 work through the boroughs now completing in places.


Last week I took and trip and covered the stretch of new cycle lane from Greenwich to Deptford where work is now on the home straight. Construction on a further stretch along Deptford along Evelyn Street is due imminently.

While Lewisham and Greenwich refuse to fund cycle hire spots in their respective boroughs, Southwark Council announced a large number of new hire stations funded from over £1 million of income via Section 106 from new developments:

Click to enlarge

A Southwark report gives an overview on expansion plans.

Current and future hire locations

It states:

“Phase one will be delivered by 2021 and builds on the announced TfL investment in cycle hire along cycle way 4 it is proposed that additional docking stations are pursued in Bermondsey, continued along Lower Road and provided on the Rotherhithe to Peckham cycle route. As part of the Walworth Road investment is proposed to connect to the existing docking in Kennington. These two expansion areas will form a substantial increase in access to cycle hire and provide connections to Burgess Park.

Phase two will delivered by 2023 provide docking stations in Camberwell and Peckham as well as the Old Kent Road to complete the envisaged expansion”

Funding comes from a number of developments:

It’s funded in large part using the same funding stream – Section 106 – that has brought Lewisham and Greenwich borough’s millions while still claiming they cannot afford to fund cycle hire locations – despite the cost of doing so reducing substantially in recent years.

Just this week Woolwich Exchange was approved. TfL stated that £300,000 was a suitable amount to allocate for cycling improvements. Greenwich initially agreed to £100,000. After TfL’s comments it was increased to £170,000 – hence why it’s in bold in this list fund in an appendix to the main report before Greenwich’s Planning Board:

Full S106 list

Lewisham and Greenwich have many other large developments that can assist with Santander cycle expansion. Convoys Wharf and Deptford Landings will see 4,600 homes. Greenwich will see almost 20,000 new homes at the Peninsula and 8,000 at Charlton Riverside alone.

New homes now being consulted upon on Greenwich Peninsula

There’s numerous others directly beside new cycle lanes such as Ravensbourne tower:

Tower in foreground approved by Greenwich in 2019

Even smaller scale projects like housing on the former police station site bring the authority substantial amounts:

Housing at former police station

There’s also numerous smaller blocks such as this on Creek Road:

Yet another new block on Creek Road

You really cannot move for new builds in the area. Every street appears to have one with this block the other end of Norman Road:

But apparently there’s no funds incoming from all these to fund cycle hire locations.

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Factor in previous new builds with much income as yet unspent, and the “we can’t afford line” doesn’t stack up.

New homes in Deptford

You can’t move for new builds. Pooling small percentages of S106 income from each would easily help fund cycle hire expansion.

Saxon Wharf in Greenwich West ward. Norman Road near Cycleway 4. Approved February 2019
Pooling income

Section 106 income from various developments can be pooled for funding specific projects. Southwark in the past have also used it for park improvements:

Alongside pooling income for estate improvements:


Southwark spending

When questioned, both Greenwich council and some Greenwich borough councillors have incorrectly stated Section 106 can only be spent in the immediate vicinity of a development. It’s not true. The advent of Community Infrastructure Levy did see changes to Section 106, but S106 income source does allow income to be pooled for projects such as those seen in Southwark. When actions in other boroughs are pointed out, Greenwich fall silent. It’s a choice they’re making not to fund certain projects, rather than necessity.

Though even if that line were to be true, there are as we’ve seen large numbers of new blocks directly beside the new cycleway.

But of course Section 106 is not the only funding stream. There are the millions in Community Infrastructure Levy payments. Just this week approval of Woolwich Exchange will see £4.7 million in CIL income to Greenwich Council. After half is allocated to Crossrail, that leaves £2.35 million unallocated – at least in public. That’s just one development. Every development brings a set amount based on a level set per per square metre.

Part of 8,000 homes coming to Charlton

As I’ve covered before, much income received from new builds is still unspent and unallocated in Greenwich borough.

The latest figures from December 2019 revealed new Section 106 agreements totalled £1,715,888. Income from previous agreements paid to the council was £4,767,723. Spending was £2,592,864. That resulted in unspent funds of £2.2 million.

When it comes to CIL, a total of £4.3 million in unspent funds from previous years was available.

In that current year Greenwich saw another £3,143,365.39. Throughout the year they spent £2,496,945.96. After Crossrail commitments that left £3,494,119.84 unspent.

Fine revenue

Finally there’s revenue from recently installed CCTV. Last year Greenwich agreed to install 20 cameras to monitor moving traffic violations. This year they agreed to 40 more. They estimate £37 million income from those 40 cameras over four years alone – and all income must be allocated to transport spend by law. When all are operational they expect £10 million per annum as shown in this Greenwich Council report:

Income prediction for 40 cameras taken from 2021 council report

Looking at predictions based on income in other boroughs, that’s £15 million income each year for transport that wasn’t previously there.

With all these funding streams, Greenwich are still claiming not to have money and placing all emphasis on TfL – as they’ve been doing for many years. Just this week they’ve again been doing it with resurfacing roads. Up to TfL they state – despite TfL’s obvious financial issues.

How long they hold out remains to be seen. Other boroughs are acting, Greenwich have no shortage of income and a brand new cycleway is running into the borough. Blaming TfL again and again has surely run it’s course.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

4 thoughts on “London’s Santander Cycle Hire to be expanded: Southwark fund using developer income

  • Totally agree with RBG not spending the funds given, but as a cyclist and cycle hire company locally in RBG it’s obviously against my interests to have council taxpayer subsidised Santander bikes here!. But it does make me question whether they’re right not to finance these locally. Our enquiries for hire locally, though competitive prices to Santander for the durations offered, and much better bikes, are quite small scale (bank holiday weekend and still no enquiries) So what makes you believe there is such a demand here that justifies all council tax payers subsidising a loss making operation? We find the main enquiries come from tourists not locals. A few from those who have no facilities to store them, a few from those too short for Santander bikes safely, a few from those hiring to learn (longer periods), and a few from families with youngsters who are not catered for by Santander. If they were here and took even 30% of our business we would close, so is that a result for all? There are as ever two sides to any story.

  • Greenwich are all lip service on much of this. The fact the new separate lane proper dies off just inside the borough boundary says much doesnt it. The temporary stretch to Charlton is a bit of a mess overall.

  • Is there a petition or public voice platform to register my disgust at Greenwich and lewisham? They will surely have to relent soon?

  • But Emily why should every taxpayer subsidise the few residents who use hire bikes. Most usage is from tourism, and docking stations are heavily subsidised by council tax. If u need to hire a bike come to us, we’re not subsidised but competitive (and proper bikes) Greenwich Cycle Hire. Est 2007.


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