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TfL launches consultation on plans to extend DLR to Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead

Proposals to extend the DLR from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside would create two brand new stations.

  • Consultation is open from 5 February 2024 to 18 March 2024 
  • Up to 25,000-30,000 new homes could be unlocked along the route of the DLR extension in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and London Borough of Newham  
  • The extension would also support the creation of up to 10,000 jobs

Transport for London (TfL) is inviting people to have their say on proposals for an extension of the DLR. The preferred route is a cross-river extension of the DLR from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside, and working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Newham  two brand new stations would be created.

The plans would support the delivery of new transport links, homes and regeneration in Thamesmead and Beckton, and the consultation is open from 5 February 2024 to 18 March 2024. Public feedback will be used to help make decisions about the scheme and inform the designs and next steps. The next stage in the process after public consultation will be progressing the scheme towards Outline Business Case.

TfL has been working together with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the London Borough of Newham and the Greater London Authority (GLA), as well as landowners Peabody, Lendlease, abrdn, St William (Berkeley Homes) and Homes England to support the delivery of new homes, improved town centres and better access to jobs within and from Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead. This will only be possible by improving public transport connections. The partnership is also working closely with Government, demonstrating the importance of the project to the local and wider area.

The proposed DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside would connect two Opportunity Areas and four development sites. A new DLR station would be built at Beckton Riverside, with a tunnel built under the River Thames linked to another new DLR station at Thamesmead. It would build on experience from 2009 when the DLR was extended to Woolwich Arsenal, tunnelling beneath the River Thames, with housing growth following in areas including Woolwich, Canning Town, and the Royal Docks.

With significant growth pressures on London and the South East, transport and housing infrastructure must keep pace with demand. Forecasts suggest that London's population will have grown significantly by 2041, and that there will be at least an additional 800,000 jobs in the capital, which will create the need for more housing.

Providing new public transport options like the DLR extension would support low-carbon developments in Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside, unlocking the delivery of up to 25,000-30,000 new homes along the extended route. It will also improve connectivity across the river and provide alternatives to private car use to lower future emissions and resulting pollution levels.

Investment in this scheme would support a UK-wide supply chain, supporting growth and job creation across the country. The DLR extension would also directly support the creation of up to 10,000 jobs, benefitting London and the national economy, and it would provide quicker journeys to other parts of east London like Stratford and the Isle of Dogs, with direct connections to central London via the Jubilee and Elizabeth lines, transforming housing, employment and leisure opportunities for the people who live in the area.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan yesterday said:

"Although we have started a record-breaking 116,000 plus genuinely affordable homes and completed more homes of all types since any time since the 1930s, the demand for housing in London shows no sign of slowing down.

"I'm excited for TfL to launch this consultation – extending the DLR will unlock huge opportunities for London, support tens of thousands of new homes, deliver new transport connections, and boost the economy, supporting the creation of thousands of jobs. Enabling the infrastructure needed for the capital's growth is key to building a better, more prosperous London for everyone."

Alex Williams, Chief Customer and Strategy Officer, yesterday said:

"Extending the DLR from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside presents a crucial opportunity to boost connectivity by linking two major growth areas with two new accessible stations.

"This important public consultation will ensure we can get feedback from those who may benefit from the extension in future to help shape the scheme as we progress through to the next stages of planning."

Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, yesterday said:

"The DLR extension is central to the regeneration of Thamesmead and would transform the area, just like the Elizabeth line has done for Woolwich and Abbey Wood.  We remain committed as part of Our Greenwich mission to make it easier, safer and greener for residents to move around the borough and the rest of London. High quality public transport is essential to our local economy; this extension would support thousands of jobs and the delivery of up to 15,000 new homes in Thamesmead. We encourage residents and businesses to participate in the consultation and share their feedback on the proposals.”

Abena Oppong-Asare MP, Member of Parliament for Erith and Thamesmead, yesterday said:

"I am very pleased that TfL is launching a consultation on plans to extend the DLR to our community in Thamesmead.

"This would be a much-needed public transport improvement for the people of Thamesmead who need to be able to travel easily and cheaply for work, study or leisure.

"I've long campaigned for these ambitious plans to put Thamesmead on the transport map and I'm pleased to have had the support of local authorities, TfL, local businesses, community groups, and most importantly the people who live here."

Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham, yesterday said:

"The new DLR extension has the potential to create a new town centre in the south of the borough, with more affordable homes, improved community infrastructure, as well as opening up the riverfront to everyone. Our tried and tested co-production model is how we ensure residents' voices are listened to and heard in all the important decisions we make to shape the future of the borough. So I urge Newham residents to take the time to feed into these important consultations which will help us and the project partners move on to the next steps to make these plans a reality."

TfL and its partners submitted a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) to Government in 2023 outlining how an extension of the DLR could have a transformative effect on the area. While a key part of this work will be to identify options for maximising local and regional sources of funding, as well as driving cost and creating efficiencies, the scale of the projects mean that some degree of external support will be required.

Funding for the feasibility work has been provided to date by a partnership of private and public sector bodies with an interest in regenerating the area. The aim is to agree an affordable solution by 2025, in order to enable construction to begin as early as 2028 and opening the DLR extension to customers in the early 2030s.

TfL is also introducing 54 new trains ,with 33 replacing the oldest trains in the current DLR fleet and the remainder used to boost capacity and meet growing demand across the DLR network. These will be introduced from 2024, with the whole fleet in place by 2026.

TfL explored a number of other transport options including increasing the number and frequency of bus services in Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside, without a new rail service. Although this would improve links to local town centres and the rail network, this option alone would not provide the level of connectivity or capacity needed to enable the 25,000 - 30,000 planned new homes in the area.

A brand-new Superloop route, the SL3, will also be introduced between Thamesmead and Bromley by spring this year and is part of a network of express routes in outer London connecting town centres, hospitals, schools and transport hubs and is a key part of the Mayor's commitment to improving the bus network in outer London. There are also wider proposals for upgrading existing DLR stations to cope with additional demand expected over the coming years.

Funding was announced by Government in the 2023 Autumn Statement to support housing development, improved town centres and better access to jobs (subject to approval of a business case), by delivering a bus transit scheme using dedicated infrastructure from Woolwich to Abbey Wood via Thamesmead. The potential new infrastructure would support not just the bus transit route, but many other bus routes in the area. Consultation on this will take place at a later date.

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