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Mayor 'keen' on Tramlink extension

Wed 13 February 2013, 5:05 pm

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said the direction of future expansion of Croydon's tram network is dependent on assessments of the economic benefits of each scheme.

Johnson was responding to an open letter from Richard Plant, chairman of the Develop Croydon Forum, who called for the Crystal Palace Tramlink extension to be funded in the forthcoming Transport for London (TfL) Business Plan.

The mayor highlighted the agreed enhancements and extensions being carried out in the short term to increase the capacity of the network and said Crystal Palace, Sutton and Bromley had been identified as three potential priorities for extending the network in the future.

“I am keen to see the extensions to the Tramlink network go ahead but, as you will appreciate, funding is the main obstacle to delivery given the many completing demands for funding which TfL is faced with," he said.

“TfL is working closely with the London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Merton and Sutton to assess the potential economic benefits of these options in terms of their contribution to employment and economic growth and to examine the extent to which funding from future development could be available to fund these schemes.

“This work started in January and is due to be completed in June.”

The Develop Croydon Forum, a group of like-minded, businesses, partners, agencies and individuals who aim to collectively promote Croydon as a location to invest, work and live, had highlighted the economic benefits of extending the tram.

Plant, a partner at property advisors Stiles Harold Williams, said in the letter that he had been encouraged by the mayor’s commitments but called on him to push forward the Crystal Palace extension at the earliest opportunity.

“Tramlink has improved the connectivity and accessibility of much of South London and there is substantial evidence to support the economic, regeneration and transport benefits of the extension.” he said.

“In recognition of the essential role the tram network now plays in the economies of the town centre and the wider sub-region, we urge you to fund the Crystal Palace Tramlink extension in your forthcoming Transport for London Business Plan.”

Johnson said that short- to medium-term enhancements to Tramlink had been included in the draft business plan.

“£30 million has been allocated to removing sections of single track, building an additional Tramlink platform at Wimbledon and the purchase of four new trams.

“These improvements will increase capacity and enhance reliability on one of the busiest sections of the Tramlink network, and will facilitate the extension of Line 4 services to Wimbledon.”

The three other existing tram routes run from West Croydon to Elmers End; West Croydon to Beckhenham Junction; and from Wimbledon to New Addington.

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