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TfL announces proposed DLR extension to unlock homes and jobs

Aerial view of Thamesmead courtesy of Peabody

TfL and partners are to progress public transport proposals to unlock Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside. Proposals, subject to a detailed review of options, include a potential cross-river DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside, boosting connectivity and providing new journey options for East London.

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. Further details include:

  • An improved Bus service using new bus lanes from Woolwich to Abbey Wood via Thamesmead would also improve local connectivity and capacity in the wider Thamesmead area with affordable, accessible and frequent connections to Elizabeth line and DLR services

  • The extension would also support the creation of up to 10,000 jobs

  • Following work with partners, a full Strategic Outline Case has been submitted to the Government for support for the next stage of work

A plan to deliver new transport links, homes and regeneration in Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside has moved a step closer with Transport for London (TfL) and its partners submitting a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) to Government. The business case outlines how an extension of the DLR could have a transformative effect on the area.

Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside sit at the heart of the London’s major growth areas and are a priority for regeneration and economic development. The Mayor of London outlined his support for the east London project in his Transport Strategy. From a public transport perspective, TfL would deliver huge improvements as part of the Thamesmead & Beckton Riverside Public Transport Programme, which has been developed to unlock the huge opportunity that exists to boost transport provision in this area.

The programme is currently considering a number of different options based around two key transport improvements:

  • A DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside, connecting two Opportunity Areas and four development sites. A new DLR station would be built at Beckton Riverside, with a tunnel under the River Thames linked to another new DLR station at Thamesmead.

  • A Bus Transit scheme using dedicated infrastructure from Woolwich to Abbey Wood via Thamesmead to improve local connectivity and capacity in the wider Thamesmead area. This would include reliable, accessible and frequent connections to the Elizabeth line as well as DLR services provided by bus priority to tackle major bottlenecks and upgrading bus stops and surrounding environments.

TfL is working with local partners the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG), London Borough of Newham (LBN) and the three major landowners - Thamesmead Waterfront (a joint venture between Peabody and Lendlease), abrdn (formerly Aberdeen Standard Investments) and St William (a Berkeley Group company) - to collaboratively develop plans for the area. There is a strong public and private partnership in place, demonstrating the significant local support and active engagement with planning authorities on the plans from organisations with a strong track record of delivery. There has been continuous engagement with Homes England, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DLR extension to Thamesmead 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, Pontoon Dock and West Silvertown.

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 the infrastructure for this growth is vital to ensure viable alternatives to cars, helping Londoners to access public transport and preventing congestion which could have a negative impact on air quality, public health and economic performance. Investment to support growth and regeneration is therefore one of TfL’s capital investment priorities, alongside asset and rolling stock renewals and upgrades, decarbonisation and mitigating the delays to HS2.

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, as well as improving connectivity across the river and providing alternatives to private car use to lower future emissions and resulting pollution levels.

As with other similar projects, investment this scheme would also promote a UK-wide supply chain, supporting growth and job creation across the country. The DLR extension would also support the creation of up to 10,000 jobs and 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. 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 Government 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 SOC reflects this work and the scale of opportunity at Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside. To support the further feasibility work and build a strong business case, the partnership has committed to further funding contributions itself, alongside requesting further Government contributions.

A further £6 million is being raised by TfL and the Greater London Authority (GLA) as well as other partners, and partners welcome a conversation with Government on the project’s future. This includes progressing to Outline Business Case stage and securing the consent required to deliver the transport infrastructure.

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.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

"Extending the DLR would unlock huge opportunities for London. It would support tens of thousands of new homes, deliver new transport connections, and boost the economy - supporting the creation of thousands of jobs".


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