Tories furious at the apparent shelving of plans to extend the Bakerloo Tube line to Lewisham have launched a petition urging Transport for London to reverse its decision on the project.
Greenwich councillor Charlie Davis on Monday called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to prioritise the extension, saying the decision to defer it was a “slap in the face” for residents in London’s south-east.
Cllr Davis, who is also standing as a Conservative candidate for the London Assembly seat of Greenwich and Lewisham, made the call after the scheme was left off a list of TfL projects which the transport body has prioritised in its £5.7b pitch for Government funding.
The move means Lewisham will remain the only inner-city borough without a tube station.
Cllr Davis earlier this year wrote to transport secretary Grant Shapps regarding safeguarding the future of the extension.
He responded last month that “the decision as to whether or not progress with the project will be for the Mayor of London to take”.
It came after London’s deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, said the extension couldn’t be guaranteed after the Covid-19 pandemic caused TfL’s fare revenue to plummet, with the body receiving a £1.69b bailout from the Government in May.
Cllr Davis said the project was needed to support thousands of jobs and homes across London’s south-east.
“Lewisham is the only inner London Borough without a tube station, and the failure of the Mayor to prioritise the Bakerloo Line extension to the Borough is a slap in the face of long-suffering commuters,” Cllr Davis said.
“That’s why we’ve today launched our Save Lewisham Tube petition calling upon the Mayor to prioritise a project that will not only benefit Lewisham, but wider south-east London transport capacity and connectivity.
“I’ll continue fighting to ensure the extension to Lewisham is delivered to benefit local residents and the local economy.”
A TfL spokesperson told the local democracy service last week that Covid-19 has had a “huge impact” on its finances, but denied the extension was “on hold”.
The spokesperson said TfL’s “immediate priority is safeguarding the route from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham” to “protect the route from future development”.
Southwark leader Kieron Williams and Lewisham mayor Damien Egan said: “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”.
In the same document, TfL revealed they would lobby the Government for £800m to extend the Docklands Light Railway to Thamesmead.
The future of Crossrail, including the line being extended to Abbey Wood, is also murky with the company behind the project requiring a £1.1b Government handout to complete construction.
The petition to ‘Save Lewisham Tube’ can be found at www.SaveLewishamTube.co.uk