Croydon business groups back Tramlink extension plans
THE case for extending Tramlink to Crystal Palace is being stepped up as officials begin to put the finishing touches to the next Transport for London (TfL) business plan.
The plan is due to be published in mid-December, setting out TfL's spending plans for the next five years, and lobbyists in Croydon want to ensure funding for the extension is included.
The extension, originally costed at £170million, was planned by former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, but was dropped by Boris Johnson when he became mayor in 2008, claiming there was no money available.
But Mr Johnson revived the idea last year and ordered another feasibility study, which supporters hope will now signal funding in the new business plan.
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Among groups now urging the mayor and TfL to back the scheme are Croydon Council, the Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) and the Develop Croydon Forum, comprising major companies helping lead the regeneration of the borough.
Council leader Mike Fisher said: "I have met and written to the mayor stressing the need for the link to Crystal Palace.
"I have also been pushing for other Tramlink improvements, including double tracking to Wimbledon and an extra platform at Wimbledon Station.
"This is a key line which is being used beyond capacity."
Cllr Fisher added: "There is a lot of capital spending involved in the business plan and we have got to be in there.
"A lot of the preparatory work has already been done on the Crystal Palace extension. It is now a case of getting the money for the scheme to progress."
Matthew Sims, chief executive of the BID, said: "It is important that we continue to improve the transport infrastructure in Croydon.
"Extending Tramlink to Crystal Palace is an opportunity we have to see taken.
"The extension would have a positive impact on businesses en route, and help make sure that Croydon grows."
In a letter sent to the mayor this week, Richard Plant, chairman of the Develop Croydon Forum, said: "There is substantial evidence to support the economic, regeneration and transport benefits of the extension.
"We urge you to fund the Crystal Palace Tramlink extension in your forthcoming Transport for London Business Plan."