New trans­ports of de­light

A Tram­link ex­ten­sion could soon un­lock the Wan­dle Val­ley, dis­cov­ers Anna White

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Transport -

ACEN­TURY ago the Lon­don tram net­work was the largest in Europe and deemed an im­por­tant driver of so­cial change, en­cour­ag­ing early com­muters to re­lo­cate from the pol­luted in­ner city to the sub­urbs.

Think­ing changed, how­ever, and trams were aban­doned by 1952 af­ter a pro­longed pe­riod of un­der-in­vest­ment and weren’t rein­tro­duced un­til 2001 on a much smaller scale in Croy­don.

But the Lon­don tram is on the move once again. Homes & Prop­erty can re­veal that Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL) has com­mit­ted £70 mil­lion to an ex­ten­sion of the Croy­don net­work. The new branch will run from South Wim­ble­don, through Mor­den to Sut­ton.

This bud­get has been al­lo­cated from the TfL’s £550 mil­lion growth fund, a pot of money ear­marked to help bor­oughs with small trans­port in­fra­struc­ture projects.

A spokesman for TfL said: “De­liv­er­ing the scheme would sup­port the pro­vi­sion of new jobs in the area, at least 10,000 new homes and im­prove public trans­port ac­ces­si­bil­ity to Mor­den, Sut­ton town cen­tre and St He­lier.”

Plans were orig­i­nally backed by the for­mer Mayor of Lon­don, Boris John­son, who pledged £100 mil­lion, but came un­der threat in Jan­uary when Sadiq Khan with­drew the money claim­ing it wasn’t a fund­ing pri­or­ity.

The scheme, which would take pres­sure off the trou­bled South­ern Rail op­er­at­ing trains in the area, has now been given ap­proval and is in­cluded in Mayor Khan’s draft trans­port plan, out for con­sul­ta­tion un­til next Mon­day.

The ex­ten­sion could cost up to £350 mil­lion. TfL is now wait­ing on Mer­ton and Sut­ton coun­cils to com­mit sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the project be­fore time­frames can be agreed, the TfL spokesman ex­plained.

“It’s about time that the bor­oughs pulled their fin­gers out fi­nance-wise and started get­ting se­ri­ous about this vi­tal project. We need every­one to treat this as a pri­or­ity, get real, and de­liver the tram,” says Steve O’Con­nell, a Croy­don coun­cil­lor and mem­ber of the Lon­don As­sem­bly.

Both TfL and Coun­cil­lor O’Con­nell believe the ex­ten­sion would un­lock the Wan­dle val­ley. The River Wan­dle runs past Car­shal­ton, Hack­bridge and Mor­den into the Thames at Wandsworth.

The ex­ten­sion would start in Sut­ton, 10 miles south-west of cen­tral Lon­don, al­low­ing com­muters to reach the bot­tom of the North­ern line at Mor­den in just a cou­ple of stops rather than tak­ing trains over­ground to a packed Bal­ham and chang­ing there.

Ac­cord­ing to Wil­liam Camp­bell, branch man­ager of Fox­tons Sut­ton, the ex­tra in­fra­struc­ture will bring more buy­ers into the area and drive prop­erty prices up.

“We are al­ready get­ting an over­spill of buy­ers in Sut­ton who can’t af­ford what they want in South Wim­ble­don, Streatham and Crys­tal Palace, where a two-bed­room flat can cost £500,000. First-time buy­ers find spa­cious Thir­ties fam­ily-sized homes with garages and gar­dens here,” said Camp­bell. “The tram ex­ten­sion would re­ally put Sut­ton on the map.”

A three-bed­room ter­race in Sut­ton starts from £425,000 and a four-bed­room fam­ily home from £475,000.

“The prop­erty market in south Lon­don is tough,” says Jack Med­dings of Bairstow Eves. “Peo­ple are search­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.