Southwark Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have backed calls for not one but two extensions of the Bakerloo line beyond Elephant & Castle in the week that the Mayor of London said Londoners should "stand by for amazing news" about the project.
Whilst Southwark Labour has traditionally favoured an extension of the Bakerloo line via the Walworth Road to Camberwell and Peckham, the Mayor's decision to create an 'opportunity area' for housing development on the Old Kent Road means that better public transport links will be a priority for that area too.
Last week councillors passed a motion at council assembly backing tube extensions via both routes.
"This administration has long been committed to an extension of the Bakerloo line to Camberwell and Peckham," said council leader Peter John.
"I am pleased that the Mayor of London has acknowledged that the south of the borough is desperately in need of better transport connections, has designated Old Kent Road as an opportunity area and given his support of an extension of the Bakerloo Line.
"The case is still strong for an extension of the Bakerloo line for both the Old Kent Road, and Camberwell and Peckham routes. We will continue to lobby Transport for London (TfL) to realise these much needed transport improvements for local people.
"Our priority is and has always been for the Bakerloo line to be extended to Camberwell, a proposal that dates back to the 1930s. However, the Old Kent Road is also desperately in need of better transport, particularly given its new designation as an opportunity area.
"We think that the case is strong for both routes. Many tube lines have several spurs and we would like to see the Bakerloo line serve both Camberwell and the Old Kent Road."
Cllr John added: "No decision has been made on preferred route alignment within Southwark, or on the extent of the route to the south.
"TfL's current forecasts suggest that an alignment via Old Kent Road would have the strongest business case, but an alignment via Camberwell also shows a very strong case well in excess of TfL's required threshold for investment.
"Under the current development timetable the detailed route would not be confirmed until 2017/18. "
Mayor of London Boris Johnson was asked about tube extensions during his #askboris Twitter question and answer session and replied that Londoners should "stand by for amazing news" about the Bakerloo line.
Mr Johnson's more detailed response to a question tabled by Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon AM was also published last week. The Mayor said: "TfL has undertaken preliminary work in the past to look at the feasibility of southern extensions to the Tube network (including the Victoria line), including identifying some route options and looking at their technical development.
"Of these, extending the Bakerloo line south from Elephant & Castle emerged as the option with the most potential, including the greatest benefit, higher weighted journey time savings, much improved access to key centres and areas of deprivation, and substantial relief to parallel transport modes.
"TfL has therefore been working on the development of the case for the Bakerloo line in greater detail – though much more detailed analysis is needed before any firm proposal can be developed and funding would still be required."
Cllr Damian O'Brien (Lib Dem, Grange ward) said: "Both areas would hugely benefit from it, so we should be pressing for both routes rather than choosing between them.
"Local politicians have a duty to be ambitious for the borough. Southwark Liberal Democrats have backed an extension of the Bakerloo line for many years. Now other parties are on board, we need to work together to make a strong case on behalf of residents across the borough."
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Simon Hughes said: "I have argued for years for extensions to the Bakerloo line, which would clearly have great economic and personal benefits for many people and business in our borough. I will put maximum pressure on the Mayor of London and transport ministers to move these plans forward as quickly as possible."
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