TfL back extending Tramlink to Sutton – but need the funding

It’s a proposal which seems to have been talked about for a long time but could we finally see London Tramlink extended to Sutton? The full results of the 2018/19 consultation into the plans have now been revealed by Transport for London and show that there was a general support for the plans and that 81% of those who responded would favour a tram link rather than the alternative Bus Rapid Transit.

In the consultation Transport for London asked for opinions on three different routes and also whether there was a preference for a tram or bus rapid transit. The results of the survey were as follows:

* 65% supported or strongly supported route option 1 (from South Wimbledon to Sutton with an interchange to the current Tramlink network at Morden Road)

* 55% supported or strongly supported route option 2 (from Colliers Wood to Sutton with a connection to the Tramlink network at Belgrave Walk)

* 49% supported or strongly supported route option 3 (from Wimbledon Station to Sutton via Morden South and St Helier)

* 81% supported or strongly supported the tram option

* 40% supported or strongly supported the Bus Rapid Transit option

Following a full review of the responses, which has included responding to any concerns or queries coming out of the survey, Transport for London have confirmed that their preferred option would be for a tram on route option 2. The reasons for this preference are:

* it has the greatest transport benefits

* is the most effective option at regenerating the areas served and supporting new homes

* has fewer delivery challenges compared to the other routes

Tram has been preferred to Bus Rapid Transit despite its higher cost:

* has greater transport benefits

* enables more new homes

* has greater potential for funding

* has greater support from respondents to the consultation

Whilst this is mainly positive news the one concern for the project at the moment is funding – or the lack of it! Some funding is in place, but other sources would need to be confirmed to move the project forward. TfL are working alongside the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton to explore options for the remaining funding. They are also looking at how they can “collectively access national sources of funding”.

It won’t be until this further work on funding is developed further that any more development work on the scheme will take place. This will include designs and an assessment of the impacts in more detail.

If the plans do go ahead the preferred option would see trams travelling from Colliers Wood to Sutton Town Centre with a stop at Belgrave Walk (on the current Wimbledon line of Tramlink, although it isn’t clear how the two lines would interface as the map almost shows the two lines at right angles). Not further stops have been identified on the maps released so far but it would travel along St Helier Avenue, Rose Hill and High Street on its way to Sutton where a loop line would be built.

We will keep an eye on the plans and keep you updated as when anything happens.

* The full consultation document can be viewed on the TfL website.

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