Surrey Canal Road: A Very Postal War


In our previous Surrey Canal Road post, we attempted to give some kind of overview of what has become an increasingly drawn out and convoluted saga – the attempt to get £7m out of the DfT in order to fulfil the station’s funding requirement.

In the previous post, we quoted in full the letter sent by the Mayors of London and Lewisham to the DfT in December to indicate that Lewisham and TfL had reached a provisional agreement on how to meet the excess cost beyond the £7m the DfT had indicated they would commit.

Courtesy of an FOI request to the DfT, we now have the full chain of correspondence that has since followed that letter. Each letter is reproduced below, with a short summary of the contents of each.

Interestingly, the last also gives a bit of an insight into the DfT’s preferred solution to the current issue of the cancellation of the Victoria – Bellingham service in 2012.

Letter 1: Re: Surrey Canal Road Station

Who: Mayors to DfT
When: 14th December 2009

This is the original letter featured on the previous post. The Mayors indicate that a provisional agreement has been reached on the £3m funding gap and that they wish to proceed the project. Expectation appears to be that DfT will provide £7m phased over two financial years (2010/11 and 2011/12).

Letter 2: Untitled

Who: Sadiq Khan (on behalf of the SoS Transport) to the Mayors
When: 16th March 2010

DfT ask why the Mayor of London is getting involved. Indicate that they believe a number of issues remain to be solved with regards to the ELL. Indicate that changes are still required to mitigate the withdrawal of the Victoria – Bellingham service. Points out that the Minister (Sadiq Khan) suggested changes in November that haven’t been actioned.

Indicates that DfT feel there are now value for money issues with SCR according to their methodology. Believes that SLL and ELL issues should be addressed together.

Letter 3: Re: South London Line, East London Line, and Surrey Canal Road Station

Who: Mayor of London to Sadiq Khan
When: 1st April 2010

Indicates that SCR is to be funded via LIP payments – hence the Mayor’s interest. Asks what the relevance of South London Line removal issues are to the discussion at hand. Addresses the issue of “over-reliance on a single developer” and TfL demand projections. Agrees that SLL issues need to be addressed but indicates that sufficient facts to do so are not available at this time. Reiterates that there are major time and cost implications to the ELLX2 if a decision is not reached soon on SCR.

Letter 4: Untitled

Who: Sadiq Kahn to Mayor of London
When: 12 April 2010

Points out that TfL and Lewisham still haven’t reached a final agreement on how they will take things forward with SCR [which is a rather disingenuous point give that both bodies have indicated they cannot do so until they get a “yay or nay from the DfT” – JB]. Indicates that the ELLX (and any cost overrun that might occur) is entirely TfL’s and Lewisham’s issue and the DfT would accept no responsibility should this occur, as they believe their responsibility lapsed when the original offer of £7m wasn’t accepted in March. Indicates that they still have concerns over SLL and includes details of an offer made by the DfT in November with regards to this.

Written by John Bull