DfT Confirm They Will NOT Fund Surrey Canal Road

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Below is a letter, dated 31st August, sent to Caroline Pidgeon AM by Theresa Villiers MP. The letter confirms that that the DfT will not provide the additional £7m funding commitment required to ensure Surrey Canal Road station is constructed as part of the ELLX Phase 2 work.

This, combined with the fact that work on ELLX Phase 2 is now already underway, means the station will almost certainly not be built in the short term.

Caroline,

I recently gave a commitment to consider whether the Department for Transport could contribution [sic] to the costs of building a proposed new station at Surrey Canal Road.

I also recognise the need to make a decision without undue delay, given the need for clarity associated with the construction of East London Line Phase Two.

I have carefully considered all the issues that were raised in recent meetings, as well as further points made in discussions with MPs and local authorities, representations from TfL and the advice received from my officials.

Given the current financial constraints under which the Department is operating, the lack of certainty regarding the redevelopment of the area and the relatively weak business case for the scheme even with the development in place, I have concluded that we cannot provide the £7m support required to build this new station.

I would not rule out the Department considering a further funding application in the future, but would note that we are expecting a reduction in the Department’s budget as part of the Spending Review. As a result any project will need to have a strong case before we would consider funding it.

The developers who plan to redevelop the area, and who could potentially benefit from increases in property sale prices as a result of a new station may still wish to help fund the scheme. I would suggest that they, along with the local planning authority, might give this further consideration.

I am aware that this decision will be a source of disappointment. However, you will appreciate that the Government’s commitment to addressing the deficit that we inherited means that some difficult decisions will have to be made on which projects we can afford and which we cannot.

Regards,

The Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers

The contents of the above letter will likely come as no surprise to those familiar with Surrey Canal Road’s story so far. Indeed, it was largely inevitable given that the time at which the station’s construction could be factored into the project has largely passed. It will be a disappointment to those who had campaigned for the station nonetheless. Given that the station will almost certainly still need to be constructed at a later date (likely at almost double the cost, and increased disruption due to its nature as an “above track” station), it also appears to be a somewhat false economy in some regards.

Our summary of the Surrey Canal Road Station situation up until now can be found here:

Surrey Canal Road: The Curious Case of the Disappearing DfT

It’s probably fair to say that the behaviour of the DfT under both this Government and the last over this matter certainly leaves some room for improvement.

Looking on the positive side, TfL have at least confirmed that passive provision for a station at the site will remain:

The funding for the London Overground extension to Clapham Junction did not include the cost of building a new station at Surrey Canal Road. Although TfL, Lewisham Council and other stakeholders have lobbied the Department for Transport for funding, the Department has now confirmed that it will be unable to provide the £7m required.

However a site for a possible future station has been incorporated in the design of the London Overground extension so that it could be built with reduced disruption to the railway, should funding be confirmed at a later date. TfL and Lewisham are continuing to work together to ensure that the design of the scheme in this area takes account of the proposed development nearby.

Written by John Bull