A key £10m “missing” station on the East London Line extension in south Bermondsey looks set to get the go-ahead after months of doubt over its future.
East London Lines can disclose that following wide-ranging discussions, the money to fund construction of the new station at Surrey Canal Road, near Millwall football club, has been found.
TfL are now hopeful that an announcement will be made before the New Year giving the approval for the station as part of the second phase of the multi-million pound scheme. The move follows talks between TfL, Lewisham council and the Department of Transport.
The news will be met with relief by residents, businesses, and commuters across south London, who had feared that the already fragile transport infrastructure in the region would be further weakened by abandonment of the key link in south Bermondsey. Andy Ambler, the chief executive of Millwall Football club, who earlier this week renewed calls for the station to be built, said TfL’s statement was ‘excellent news.’
Proposals for the station to be built appeared to have been shelved earlier this year, owing to a lack of funds. TfL is said to have taken the view that the stop did not represent value for money.
But a TfL spokesperson said today: “TfL and the London Borough of Lewisham have met with the Department for Transport to discuss the case for funding a new station in this location. We hope to have the go ahead by the end of the year.”
Mr Ambler said today: “If that proves to be the case and the funding for the new station is forthcoming that would be excellent news for the football club and our fans, but also for local residents and everyone who attends events at the stadium or activities run by our community scheme.”
He added: “Better rail transport links are a key factor in terms of regenerating the whole area and giving people greater access to the facilities we have here. This really would be a tremendous stride in the right direction.”
“Obviously the station would make it much easier for us on a match day. A lot of our fanbase have moved out – to Kent, Surrey, Sussex – that’s the nature of London. Therefore we need the right transport infrastructure around the ground.”
In February TfL announced that Phase 2 would run from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, via Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Clapham High Street, and Wandsworth Road. It is due to be completed by 2012, in time for the Olympics.
The Department for Transport offered £7m towards the £10m budget for the Surrey Canal Road stop and despite public support, negotiations for the final £3m seemed to have reached deadlock.
The distance between the two stops either side of Surrey Canal Road is approximately 2.2 miles with an average walking distance of twenty-two minutes from either station to the ground.
It has not been disclosed what the discussions surrounding TfL’s statement entailed or how the money for the construction would be secured.
Peter Pledger, chief executive of business support group South London Business, said that the stop would eventually pay for itself: “Transport interchanges help the country grow itself out of the recession. Where there are stops there’s more businesses and more jobs – a dying need in that area.”
by Matt Kendall and Laurie Whitwell