Written by Adam McLaren

Most Londoners will agree that the Bakerloo Line is particularly unloved compared to some of its more modern siblings. Over the last 25 years, TfL and a range of partners have tried repeatedly to make the case for modernisation and extension. Various initiatives have faltered after making contact with the realities of decreasing budgets and a volatile economy. As a result, many of the major redevelopment projects in the Old Kent Road area are now reassessing their viability after assuming they could rely on new Bakerloo links arriving shortly.

On 22 May, Kanda attended “Back the Bakerloo – The Bakerloo Line Upgrade and Extension” at UK REiiF in Leeds. This forms part of Southwark and Lewisham Council’s joint efforts to promote the business case for a southeast extension of the line from Elephant and Castle into Lewisham.

With one in six London jobs located within walking distance of a Bakerloo station, the line’s importance is hard to overstate. The proposed upgrade and extension offer an opportunity to revolutionise connectivity in Southeast London. The boroughs are hoping that the extension will unlock up to 50,000 homes, significantly boost local employment, and inject £1.5 billion into the UK economy.

At the event, speakers including Brenda Dacres (Mayor of Lewisham), Cllr Helen Dennis (Southwark Cabinet Member), Chris Porter (TfL), and Roger Madelin (British Land) shared insights into the impacts and challenges of this ambitious project. From the different perspectives of local government and the property sector, the speakers emphasised the necessity of collaboration and innovation to make the Bakerloo upgrade and extension a reality.

The consensus from the speakers was clear: the benefits of this project extend far beyond improving transport networks in Southeast London. It’s about driving economic growth, enhancing connectivity, and creating opportunities for Londoners.

The problem is that the estimated £8 billion bill will need to be agreed with national government, after several years of piecemeal and highly politicised funding agreements for TfL. Even with City Hall hoping for a better working relationship with a potential incoming Labour administration, it will still be an uphill struggle to direct very limited resources towards such a significant London infrastructure project. For now, the Mayor of London is hoping that the ‘Bakerloop’ bus route can start to make the case for improving connectivity along the proposed route.

As consultants deeply invested in London’s future, we at Kanda Consulting will be following the plans closely. We will work together with developers, decision-makers and communities to understand how the potential Bakerloo Line extension will influence London’s future growth.

If you’d to discuss projects in London get in touch with Adam here: adam.mclaren@kandaconsulting.co.uk

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