We want Santander Cycles to come to Deptford, Lewisham Council says

Rotherhithe Tunnel cycle hire station
Santander Cycles can be hired as far east as Rotherhithe and Canada Water station

A senior Lewisham councillor is to raise extending TfL’s cycle hire scheme further into SE London when he meets City Hall’s walking and cycling commissioner next month.

In June, Greenwich Council’s transport cabinet member, Sarah Merrill, said that she would be keen to see Santander Cycles extended along the route of the new Cycleway 4 into the borough.

At present, the scheme stops at Canada Water station, leaving riders unable to dock bikes in Deptford, Lewisham, Greenwich or beyond.

But with Cycleway 4 – which would run from Tower Bridge to Woolwich if fully implemented – passing through a mile of Lewisham territory before it reaches Greenwich, the chances of expansion would be greatly boosted with both boroughs on board.

Last night Patrick Codd, Merrill’s opposite number in Lewisham, said he would be discussing the issue with Will Norman at a meeting next month.

“Having [the scheme] in the north of the borough does help alongside Cycleway 4,” he told Lewisham’s full council meeting last night.

“I have set up a meeting with TfL’s walking and cycling commissioner next month and I’ll be raising the extension of the Santander cycle scheme at that meeting.”

In a written response issued before the meeting, Codd warned that Lewisham would not be able to afford the costs of installing docking stations itself – an issue also brought up in Greenwich’s responses for demands for the scheme to be introduced.

“We recognise the potential benefits of extending the Santander cycle hire scheme to the north of the borough as part of a wider expansion,” he said in the reply to Mark Morris, a former Liberal Democrat councillor in the borough.

“However, we also acknowledge the financial constraints that TfL are experiencing and the uncertainty of future funding. Therefore alternative sources of funding for any expansion would need to be identified.”

Any extension to the scheme is likely to have to depend on money from developers along the route of Cycleway 4. The hire scheme was extended to Canada Water last year when the first part of Cycleway 4 – between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe – opened.

A second section, on Creek Road in Deptford, was finished in May but its opening has been held up because Greenwich Council has not yet commissioned work on redecking Deptford Creek Bridge. Work is under way on building a third section in Deptford, along Evelyn Street. A temporary segregated route is also in place between east Greenwich and Charlton.

In June, mayor Sadiq Khan told the Labour assembly member Elly Baker that he had “asked TfL to explore options for a significant expansion of Santander Cycles as part of my manifesto”.

“TfL is assessing the existing scheme area and hire trends and is looking at areas that have a good provision of cycle lanes and cycling infrastructure,” he said.

“TfL will work with boroughs who are supportive of expanding Santander Cycles further and new boroughs who would like to join the scheme and will explore a range of options for funding new docking stations with them, including developer funding, to ensure they are financially viable.”

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