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Cross River Tram: "What has worked for Croydon can work for Southwark and Lambeth"

Members of the London Assembly transport committee have made a fact-finding visit to Croydon Tramlink in advance of a special meeting about the proposed Cross River Tram.

Caroline Pidgeon
Caroline Pidgeon AM at the Croydon Tramlink depot

The Cross River Tram would link Brixton and Peckham with Camden, crossing the thames at Waterloo Bridge. The scheme was backed by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone but since taking over at City Hall in May Boris Johnson has taken a more sceptical view.

Whilst the scheme is under review by the new London Tory administration, local Lib Dem and Labour politicians are keeping up the pressure to ensure the scheme isn't quietly abandoned.

"We can learn a lot from the Croydon tram experience and this will ensure the Cross River Tram is even more successful," says Lib Dem London Assembly member and Southwark councillor Caroline Pidgeon.

"The tram is rapid, reliable and green. We need to be really imaginative in developing new ways of funding the Cross River Tram project and getting the Mayor and the Government signed up to it."

Caroline Pidgeon AM is deputy chair of the assembly's transport committee which is chaired by Labour's Val Shawcross, the constituency member for Lambeth and Southwark. Shawcross – who was leader of Croydon Council when the Tramlink system was being built – is also an enthusiastic supporter of the tram scheme.

One of Ken Livingstone's final acts as Mayor of London was to bring Croydon Tramlink fully under the control of Transport for London, ending the franchise arrangement several years early.

"The tram is vital to regenerating Peckham and Brixton, linking Southwark and Lambeth to the City, Westminster and Camden," says Caroline Pidgeon.

"Business has benefited so much in Croydon that developers paid for a new tram stop. The visit today gave us confidence that what has worked so well for Croydon can work for Southwark and Lambeth."

Pro-tram campaigners are continuing to collect signatures on an online petition launched last month.

The petition will be taken to City Hall on Tuesday 9 September when the transport committee is holding a seminar on the Cross River Tram and formally presented to the whole Assembly at Mayor's Question TIme the following day.

The CRT seminar – which is open to the public – will consider the case and prospects for the scheme in the light of the Mayor's transport priorities and the current financial pressures on Transport for London.

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