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Wheels in motion for £55m tram
Monday, 23 July 2012
A £55MILLION “Super Tram” system could create jobs and ease congestion – if a transport firm convinces a town hall it can deliver its plans.
The proposed new tram system would run from the Maudsley Hospital in Denmark Hill to London Bridge, through Camberwell Green, Walworth Road, Elephant & Castle and up to Guy’s Hospital.
However, Southwark council is yet to be convinced that the project can be delivered.
The tram is the brainchild of East Dulwich Councillor James Barber, who has been working with transport firm Tram Power to set the wheels in motion.
The route, which could reduce road congestion and pollution, would be privately financed.
Tram Power technical director Professor Lewis Lesley said this new project would be cheaper to deliver than the Cross River Tram project that was scrapped in 2008 due to soaring costs.
He said that trams are greener and more cost-effective than Tubes and buses and would cut down journey times.
He said: “We hope the council will look this gift horse in the mouth.
“It fits in with the wider priorities because they simply have to do something about air pollution in the city.”
Tram Power has been involved in two similar schemes – in Galway, Ireland and Preston, Lancashire – but neither are up and running.
The Preston scheme is still awaiting planning permission from the local authority, which is expected later this year.
Southwark councillors were given information about the project last week and senior figures are concerned about Tram Power’s record, despite backing the Cross River Tram in the past.
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, said: “We could only give our backing to a company’s scheme if we were confident that they would be able to deliver it.
“Given the fact that this company has never delivered a tram system before, doesn’t have a business plan and hasn’t got the money to build it, I can’t see how we can have any such confidence in their scheme.”
But Cllr Barber said he was “optimistic” over the fortunes of the scheme.
He said: “We have done enough to give the people of Southwark a say on the plans.
“This is clearly at an early stage.”
What do you think of the proposals? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the South London Press at 2-4 Leigham Court Road, SW16 2PD.
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