The Conservative leader of Bromley Council has doubled down on his authority’s opposition to a potential extension of the Bakerloo Line to Hayes, saying Bromley town centre needs additional transport capacity instead.
Colin Smith’s comments came after Labour councillors asked if he had ignored feedback from local residents who supported an extension of the line. Transport for London hopes to extend the line in tunnel from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham via the Old Kent Road by 2028 or 2029. It also wants to take over the National Rail service from Lewisham to Hayes with a branch to Beckenham Junction, bringing the Tube to Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham and Elmers End, and ran a consultation late into the proposal last year. The scheme currently has no funding.
In response, Smith said the council’s response to the latest consultation had echoed previous feedback the authority had given on the plans.
“We don’t want a replacement for the Hayes line, we want additional functionality to Bromley town centre and Bromley South,” Smith told Monday’s full meeting of Bromley Council.
Labour councillor Ian Dunn asked asked how the council had responded to the consultation, claiming Bromley had ignored the opinions of locals who are in favour of the Bakerloo extension.
“We had this question the last time this show rolled into town,” Smith responded, referring to an earlier consultation carried out in 2014, which also canvassed views on the line running to Hayes and Beckenham Junction.
“I know what the residents of Hayes, West Wickham and Elmers End want. I’m a Hayes resident and I’ve actually asked real people in the real world, not based on half of a TfL consultation.”
In October, Smith claimed in a Bromley press release that a Bakerloo extension to Hayes had been “resoundingly rejected”. However, while TfL did not break down responses by postcode, 68 per cent of responses to its 2014 consultation from Bromley borough residents backed the line running to Hayes and Beckenham Junction – more than the 65 per cent who backed it in Lewisham borough.
Bromley has always objected to the loss of National Rail services – and direct trains to the City – on the Hayes route. While the Bakerloo line would be far more frequent, it would run via the West End and commuters would need to change trains to access the Square Mile if the Hayes look was built.
In 2018, Bromley’s response to mayor Sadiq Khan’s new London Plan – the City Hall planning bible – indicated that it would prefer to see a Docklands Light Railway extension from Lewisham through Catford to Bromley South via Bromley North, and that it wanted to safeguard land for such a route. The council has also said it could support a Bakerloo extension to Bromley town centre if it did not result in the removal of National Rail service.
Bromley’s opposition to the Bakerloo Line extension has baffled and frustrated neighbouring Lewisham Council, which is banking on the full extension as part of its plans to improve Catford town centre. Meanwhile, Southwark Council’s leader Peter John is heading to the MPIM property fair next month in a trip paid for by developers with interests in the Old Kent Road to drum up support for the extension, London SE1 reports.
TfL says that the results into the latest Bakerloo Line consultation will be published later this year.
Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain.
Lachlan Leeming is the Local Democracy Reporter for Bromley. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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