Greenwich Council backing Bakerloo Line to Lewisham

Waterloo Tube station

Greenwich Council has joined the chorus of south London councils supporting an extension of the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham, Catford and Hayes, its counterparts in Lewisham heard last night.

Lewisham’s elected mayor Sir Steve Bullock rubber-stamped his council’s backing for TfL’s scheme at a cabinet meeting, endorsing a report urging transport bosses to act quickly to bring the Tube line south-east.

Deputy mayor Alan Smith revealed Greenwich’s support for the proposals during the meeting, which sees Greenwich join Southwark as well as its neighbour in backing the proposals.

Transport for London consulted late last year on an extension to the Bakerloo, which currently runs from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle.

Current proposals see the line running via either Old Kent Road or Camberwell and Peckham to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, before taking over the current mainline service through Catford and Lower Sydenham to Hayes. It’s also mulling over the possibility for a branch running to Bromley.

But TfL does not plan to open the extension until after 2030 – a long wait for areas which are already seeing huge amounts of home-building, particularly at Lewisham and Catford.

“We do now have Greenwich supporting us, and though it won’t directly benefit them, the fact that there are more people behind it helps our case,” Cllr Smith told Wednesday’s meeting at Lewisham Town Hall in Catford.

Lewisham has been exploring a Bakerloo extension for some years now, commissioning a report in 2010 which identified possible routes for the extension, which included routes into Greenwich borough.

But this was ignored by Greenwich under former council leader Chris Roberts, which has prioritised river crossings, so Greenwich’s backing for the new proposals under his replacement Denise Hyland is notable.

While there wouldn’t be a station within Greenwich borough, the council boundary passes surprisingly close to Lewisham station, which is also a hub for bus, DLR and rail services north and east into the borough.

To the south, Bromley Council remains cool on the idea of the Tube entering its borough – preferring to see Hayes remain connected to the National Rail network – with Cllr Smith saying had hadn’t seen a “significant shift in their thinking”.

“Bromley doesn’t seem to consider itself to be part of London, it certainly doesn’t consider itself to be part of the economics of London,” he complained.

“Trying to persuade them that this will be beneficial has proved to be extremely difficult, but this doesn’t mean we will stop trying.”

Last month, Bromley’s London Assembly member James Cleverly asked Mayor Boris Johnson what effect a Bakerloo extension to Hayes would have on journey times, clearly anticipating the answer would involve longer journeys. In fact, he was told trips would be quicker on the Bakerloo.

A Bakerloo extension which took over the Hayes line would free up space on National Rail tracks through Lewisham, creating an opportunity to boost rail services across south-east London.

Lewisham’s response to the consultation also outlines an idea for redeveloping Lewisham station – which even now is struggling as an interchange for passengers displaced by works at London Bridge – as well as suggestions for locations for stations on Old Kent Road.

It also floats the idea of a London Overground extension from New Cross to a “Lewisham South” terminal.

While Greenwich is now backing the Bakerloo proposal, it has not published a response; nor is it currently due to be discussed by councillors there.

Lewisham Town Hall

A word on the video on this story – it’s the first time I’ve ever filmed a council meeting, using new legislation brought in last year.

It’s very quiet, but hopefully you can get the gist of what’s happening. It also includes some discussion of Lewisham adopting a borough-wide 20mph zone, a topic this site will return to at some point. Next time I do this, it’ll be in Greenwich and I’ll try to edit it properly…

I may be the first person to have used the new legislation to film a meeting in Lewisham. Stewart Christie has a small clip of a full council meeting in Greenwich here.

Lewisham asks that you inform the clerk of the meeting that you’re planning to film, then it’s all fine so long as you don’t get in the way or focus on members of the public – although it’s hard to do it unobtrusively without furniture getting in the way, as you’ll see here, where New Cross councillor Joe Dromey is hidden by a chair.

It’s also worth pointing out here that Lewisham operates a different system to Greenwich – here, the elected mayor takes all decisions and cabinet members propose, advise and scrutinise, so no vote is taken. In Greenwich, cabinet members vote on issues, usually deciding positions outside of public meetings.

4 comments

  1. Richard Cleverley (@tricktd)

    How ridiculous of Bromley! Only 50 years since it became a London Borough! They were keen enough to be considered part of London when they took legal action against the GLC’s policy of reducing public transport fares in 1981.

  2. Chris

    Richard, my thoughts exactly when I read about Bromley’s opposition.
    I’m sure the legal action was successful and resulted in a doubling of fares as ‘Fares Fair (?)’ was abolished.
    Ironically, I also recall the central plank of their legal was action was that they didn’t have any tube stations!

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