The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is insisting that proposals to rebuild the Northern line station at Elephant & Castle with escalators to replace the current lifts will have to be funded by the private sector.
The Mayor, in his capacity as chair of Transport for London, and the transport commissioner Peter Hendy were asked by London Assembly member Val Shawcross whether they agreed that the station is already overcrowded and therefore TfL should make a substantial contribution to the cost of upgrading its capacity.
"Elephant & Castle Underground Station can accommodate the current demand levels and a certain level of background growth," said Mr Johnson and Mr Hendy in a joint response published just before the Christmas break.
"A major redevelopment of the Tube station will only be required if the regeneration at Elephant & Castle proceeds creating a marked increase in demand, particularly through the Northern line entrance.
"In the current economic climate, Transport for London has no plans or budget for transport improvements to the Underground station. In the best interests of the taxpayer, if the development at Elephant & Castle proceeds, any transport improvements that will be needed as a result of the development must be met by the commercial interests of the project."
TfL's insistence that the tube station can cope with an increase in passenger numbers comes in contrast to Southwark Council's own analysis.
Last month the council's planning and transport policy manager Simon Bevan told an official hearing at City Hall that the planned regeneration of the Elephant and the construction of new homes will "very quickly bring about the failure of the [tube] station requiring the construction of new escalators" at a cost of £200 million.
In a joint statement Lend Lease and Southwark Council said: "[In November] an important milestone was reached in the multi million pound scheme to transform the Elephant and Castle, when the council approved the terms of a heads of terms agreement with Lend Lease Europe Ltd.
"This decision paved the way for the next stage of delivering the ambitious vision for the area by agreeing a regeneration agreement over the coming months.
"The executive also asked council officers to continue negotiations with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority to safeguard the viability of the project, and these discussions are ongoing."
At an overview and scrutiny committee meeting in December Southwark Council leader Nick Stanton was asked whether it was possible that the long-envisaged improvements to the tube station might not happen if agreement with TfL could not be reached. "That is clearly a risk," he replied. "It has always been a risk".