Revealed: Labour lets down Eltham and Kidbrooke over DLR

Answers to questions from Greenwich Conservative councillor Spencer Drury and GLA member Gareth Bacon have revealed that Labour-run Greenwich Council never presented a key report on a DLR extension for Eltham to the Mayor of London or TfL  despite a blaze of publicity on the issue before the last set of General and Council elections four years ago.
 

Just before the 2010 elections, Labour promised that they would commission a feasibility study into bringing the DLR to Eltham.  Labour-run Greenwich Council spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on a consulting firm who produced two reports; a pre-feasibility one which was presented to TfL in Feb 2012, and a fuller report answering TfL’s questions about exactly how it would work.  Greenwich Council however never presented the second report.  TfL and the Mayor, despite showing an interest in extending the DLR,  were never given the report or contacted again by the Council on the matter.  Labour-run Greenwich buried the report and forgot all about it.

 

In answer to a question from GLA member Gareth Bacon, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said “I am very supportive of any extension to the DLR network that can technically be delivered, funded and provides value for money.”  However, the Mayor of London would not be aware of the technical or funding issues for a DLR extension to the south of Greenwich as the report entitled “Proposed DLR Extension: Canning Town to Kidbrooke / Eltham / Falconwood; Feasibility Study; Addressing TfL’s most pressing questions” was never sent to him or TfL.


Spencer said 'This whole episode reveals Labour politicians in Greenwich at their most cynical.  They have spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers money prior to an election buying headlines on an issue they know Eltham’s voters care about, but never actually campaigned for a DLR to the south of the borough.  By not sending the second report to TfL, it is quite clear that they were ensuring that a DLR extension to Kidbrooke and Eltham never got placed on Boris’ agenda and was left in a siding, never to be seen again.  If they were serious about improving Eltham’s transport links, the council would have ensured this DLR report was part of its response to Boris’s recent consultation about the Silvertown Link and river crossings generally.

 

“There is a massive contrast between the north of the borough, where at least £9m is being spent on Crossrail for Woolwich and where DLR stations are already in place and the South of the Borough where nothing has happened.   I can only assume that Labour-run Greenwich Council had no intention of pursuing a DLR extension for the South of the Borough; it is simply another betrayal of the people of Eltham.”

 

 

Notes for interested readers

 

  1. The precise answers to GLA Member Gareth Bacon’s questions are below:

 

DLR to Eltham (1)

 

Question No: 2014/0200

 

Gareth Bacon

 

Could the Mayor outline all communications received by the GLA or TfL from Greenwich Council since 2010 regarding the extension of the DLR to Eltham?

Written response from the Mayor

 

The Royal Borough of Greenwich first contacted TfL in January 2010 regarding the possible extension of the DLR to Eltham, to inform them that they would be undertaking a pre-feasibility study.

 

Following this initial contact, the Borough’s consultant, Hyder Consulting, contacted TfL regarding technical information, such as demand forecasts and engineering standards.

 

Following completion of the pre-feasibility study in February 2012, Hyder Consulting met with TfL to discuss their conclusions. No further correspondence has been received on this issue.

 

As you know, I am very supportive of any extension to the DLR network that can technically be delivered, funded and provides value for money.”

 

DLR to Eltham (2)

 

Question No: 2014/0201

 

Gareth Bacon

 

Was Greenwich Council's study on extending the DLR to Eltham ever submitted to the Mayor for his consideration?

 

Written response from the Mayor

 

No. Please see my response to MQ 200/2014.

 

  1. Answer to Cllr Drury from Officers explaining the reason the second report was never presented to TfL:

 

“I and the Lead member have met senior TfL officers on a number of occasions to discuss strategic transport issues. At those meetings we have been advised that their Business Plan did not have provision for development of the DLR extension scheme.

 

As the earlier response indicates, the later (May 2012) study was subsequently superseded by River Crossing developments. As a result it was recognised that the most appropriate time to present the case for the DLR extension would be when TfL’s detailed proposals and assessments for the Silvertown Tunnel are shared with the Council. At that time there would also be greater clarity on the extent and timing of population growth in the South of the Borough and Kidbrooke particularly since that growth is integral to the business case for the DLR extension.”

 

  1. The previous response from Officers reads:

 

“Please find attached the two reports commissioned by RBG to help inform the case for a DLR extension to the south of the Borough. It should be noted that the later report was not submitted to TfL because there is a need to re-evaluate the position in the light of TfL's continuing works and engagement on the Silvertown tunnel.

 

However the need to accommodate provision for public transport within the Silvertown Tunnel and other new river crossings was an integral part of the Council's response to TfL's most recent consultation on River Crossings and has been flagged up by officers in discussions on sub-regional transport issues.”

 

  1. The second report produced by Hyder Consulting was titled:  “Royal Borough of Greenwich; Proposed DLR Extension: Canning Town to Kidbrooke / Eltham / Falconwood; Feasibility Study; Addressing TfL’s most pressing questions
  2. The Hyder Report contains the following point:  “In an email dated 11 April 2012 (see Appendix 2),Tony Wilson of TfL Planning further stated, “If your work is able to articulate the specific problem which you are seeking to address, how this scheme would address it, and what other ways of addressing it have been considered, it would be very helpful”.” (1.2.2 in the Introduction, page 1)
  3. A range of comments from the Cabinet meeting are included on this blog post http://853blog.com/2011/12/15/eltham-dlr-bid-to-challenge-tfl-says-council-leader/
  4. In 2013, we were informed that Eltham’s Labour MP was “urging local residents to take part in the Mayor for London’s consultation on river crossings by supporting a new crossing at Silvertown and insisting the new crossing includes the DLR.”  Clearly his urgings did not extend to the Council who still did not submit their report to TfL.  http://cliveefford.org.uk/2013/01/11/yes-to-silvertown-link-with-dlr/
  5. Greenwich Conservatives identified the fact that the Council was not serious about the DLR extension to Eltham as early as January 2010 (when it was announced just before the election).  http://www.greenwichconservatives.com/news/834
  6. Newshopper report at the time:  http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/4875389.ELTHAM__MP_demands_new_DLR_sta...
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