Thamesmead DLR extension: Greenwich to discuss options

Greenwich Council’s Cabinet will next week agree to push forward plans to extend the Docklands Light Railway from Beckton to Thamesmead.

The move follows a study conducted into long-held plans to cross the Thames and build thousands of homes in north Thamesmead.

Any extension would not link North Thamesmead to Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth line, Thameslink and Southeastern services.

No link to Abbey Wood station in first stage

A report before Greenwich’s Cabinet states it would unlock “145 hectares of brownfield land, establishing two new residential-led, mixed-use communities of between 25,000 and 30,000 homes”.

Costs at 2021 prices were put between £700 million and £1.2 billion, though inflation has been extremely high since that estimate was made. During 2022 construction material inflation reached 26 per cent.

Retail parks to town centres

Both sides of the river have extensive retail parks which could see intensification and new town centres developed.

Rough outline of future development from five years ago

Some parts of a report will raise eyebrows of those who know Woolwich and Thamesmead well.

It states “There is excellent precedent for TfL led public transport delivery unlocking transformational change”, which is certainly true in many areas, though in Woolwich we still have much land around Woolwich Arsenal DLR station lying vacant 14 years after the DLR was completed and an agreement was signed with Oakmayne to build on site.

Plans for development above and around DLR station hasn’t progressed in 13 years

In Thamesmead we have various Peabody plots near Abbey Wood station unbuilt – and with no plans to do so anytime soon.

There’s long been a commonly held myth that all of Thamesmead has poor transport links. While true for north Thamesmead it’s far from correct for parts of south Thamesmead, which were always a short walk to Abbey Wood station.

Despite proximity to Abbey Wood station, Peabody have failed to build at a number of sites they long own with extremely long timescales up to 2040 planned for plots within five minutes walking distance.

DLR plan if ever funded. No funding allocated for bus transit scheme from numerous recent developments along route

The key question is will a government averse to infrastructure investment fund such a project, and particularly while Peabody already fail to build homes within minutes of a major new £18 billion rail line?

Will TfL be able to substantially assist given current problems?

Other developers working with Peabody are Lendlease (no strangers to very slow build rates) and Berkeley Homes.

Vast expanses of Peabody land lay empty years after existing homes demolished and minutes from Abbey Wood station

North Thamesmead has seen numerous major transport projects come and go over the years.

In recent years its had to make do with bus improvements, such as the 472 extending to Abbey Wood and the introduction of the 301 running to both Abbey Wood and Woolwich.

301 heading to Abbey Wood station. Note Peabody plot to rear seconds to station long unbuilt.

Any extension will not be built soon. The next stage is “further design and consents work and has an estimated cost of £10-12 million over the next four years.”

A rough estimate of something being built by the early 2030s is given if all hurdles are jumped.

In the meantime, we have to hope Peabody finally start to build at their numerous plots in south Thamesmead.

 

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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.

2 thoughts on “Thamesmead DLR extension: Greenwich to discuss options

  • Bexley Council as usual not involved at all, instead of campaining for (what would seem nautural) extension of this DLR line to at least Belvedere, perhaps even Erith. This way borough of Bexley would have at least ONE tube station on its land!

    Reply
  • Building an extension to Belvedere and Erith would be a doddle after the Thames crossing. It’ll never happen though, even if Bexley Council were to become enthusiastic.

    Reply

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