Residents' joy as tramline through Camden and Somers Town is axed
SOMERS Town residents were celebrating this week as Boris Johnson ditched plans for a tramline dividing the area. The Mayor of London has dropped the expensive Cross River Tram scheme, which would have gone through Somers Town on its way from south London
SOMERS Town residents were celebrating this week as Boris Johnson ditched plans for a tramline dividing the area.
The Mayor of London has dropped the expensive Cross River Tram scheme, which would have gone through Somers Town on its way from south London to Camden Town.
For more than four years, residents tried to convince former mayor Ken Livingstone that the scheme would be costly and disruptive.
Ward councillor Roger Robinson said: "In this case the credit crunch has been positive and our battle to save Somers Town from this tram link has been won.
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"We have been campaigning for years and it has been a tough battle.
"I am delighted."
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The move was announced by Mr Johnson in a new 10-year transport strategy tempered by the credit crunch.
The estimated cost of the scheme has risen from £600million to £1.3billion and the politician decided that the budget could not stretch that far.
He said: "London is the engine of the UK economy and it is vital that we continue to invest in better transport during these tough times.
"But at the same time, we need to focus on the projects that deliver real benefits for Londoners, and let go of those that lack the funding for completion.
"At a time when Londoners are struggling, it is our duty to get maximum bang for their buck and invest in fully-funded schemes that we know can be delivered.
"I will not continue with the former mayor's unrealistic and hollow promises."
London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, Brian Coleman, had also opposed the scheme and says the only reason it stayed on the agenda is because south London Assembly members refused to let it go.
"This is an ex, dead, ceased-to-be and extinct tram - I am ecstatic," he said. "We have had a long campaign against this ridiculous project which would have cost £1.3billion, which Transport For London didn't have.
"Bloomsbury and Somers Town have been saved by Boris but also by the work of Camden councillor Roger Robinson - this is a cross-party campaign which has benefited the community. Trams are not the answer unless they're on disused railway lines and the business case for this just didn't stack up.
"This has been put forward by the Assembly Members [Val] Shawcross, Caroline Pidgeon and [Jenny] Jones who wanted to get regeneration for their area by destroying Camden."
Under the same plan the Mayor announced plans to push ahead with Northern Line improvements, which will include increasing capacity on trains by 25 per cent.