Southwark’s council leader has accused the government of ‘game-playing’ TfL’s finances after it was revealed the transport authority would not be seeking funding for the Bakerloo Line extension.
Earlier this week, TfL had said it would not be “realistic” to expect the government to fund the extension in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.
A TfL spokesman insisted to the News that the extension was not “on hold”, despite the authority not asking for funding to proceed with the project in the review.
It would see the tube line extended from Elephant and Castle into Lewisham, via the Old Kent Road.
In a statement, the leaders of Southwark and Lewisham councils, both of which have heavily backed plans to extend the line, said they were “disappointed” that the extension would not be funded imminently.
“It is disappointing that government game-playing with TfL’s finances means that they are unable to request funding for their largest projects – including the Bakerloo Line Extension – at this time,” said Cllr Kieron Williams of Southwark, and Mayor Damien Egan of Lewisham.
“We remain fully committed to the Bakerloo Line Extension and will do everything in our power, working together with Sadiq Khan, to deliver what will be an essential piece of infrastructure for London’s recovery from COVID-19.
“It is vital that [the] government works with TfL to agree a longer term funding package so that the thousands of new homes and jobs which the project is set to bring are not put at risk.”
The extension forms a key part of Southwark’s new homes and jobs plans, with 20,000 new homes planned for the area surrounding the Old Kent Road.
Council bosses admit that only around 9,000 of those homes could be built if there were no tube stations on the Old Kent Road.
A TfL spokesman said the “immediate priority” had now shifted to protecting the route from development, so that the extension can go ahead at a later date.
“Regarding the Bakerloo line Extension, our immediate priority is safeguarding the route from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham in order to protect the route from future development,” he said.
TfL has also provided “reassurances” to Southwark and Lewisham that the extension remains “an ongoing priority for them,” said Cllr Kieron Williams.