Boost for Bakerloo extension as land along route given protection

A traveller on the Bakerloo line during London’s first lockdown. Pic: Unsplash / John Crozier

Plans for the Bakerloo underground line extension to Lewisham have been given a boost by the Government acting to protect land along the route from future developments. 

No other development projects will be allowed to happen on the sites required to deliver the extension of the Bakerloo line – a practice known as ‘safeguarding’. Lewisham and Southwark Councils can now prevent any development on sites needed if and when the extension plans commence.

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, granted approval for the safeguarding of the route from Lambeth North’s Elephant and Castle station to Lewisham yesterday.

The land required for the tunnels alongside new stations on the Old Kent Road, New Cross Gate and Lewisham, as well as key operational infrastructure and construction sites, will be protected.

The extension of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham and Southwark will “dramatically improve transport links”, said Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander,  and Kieron Williams, Southwark Council leader in a joint statement.

It should relieve the load on buses and the overground by making the area, which does not have any tube links at present, more accessible. Egan, Alexander and Williams said the project will “support the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs”.

“We will continue to work with the government and others for funding options for this project to be delivered,” they said.

The project will not take off until funding is secured, which could still be a long wait. TfL stated in a report, published late November, that it cannot fund the extension without government support. It faces significant financial challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

“The proposed extension remains a priority for us and the Mayor, but we must be realistic about what is affordable as we continue discussions with Government over funding for the project,” they stated in the report.

‘Overwhelming’ public support

The extension is planned alongside an upgrade of the existing Bakerloo line and is hoped to be achieved by 2029.  

Following the public consultation last year, further research by TfL revealed overwhelming public support for the project. A total of 89 per cent of respondents were positive or supportive about the overall proposals for the extension, and 82 per cent supported the possibility of a further extension of the route beyond Lewisham – to Hayes and Beckenham Junction.

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