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Boris faces campaigners' wrath after Crystal Palace tram 'betrayal'

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BORIS Johnson has been accused of treating the people of Crystal Palace with contempt, after it emerged a much-promised tram extension has yet again been put on the back-burner.

Despite indications this week from Transport for London (TfL) all may not be lost, supporters of the Tramlink extension believe the real picture is painted in a one paragraph entry in a consultation document about bringing the Bakerloo tube line to Beckenham and surrounding areas.

Talking of Tramlink extensions in the context of expanding the Underground, the paragraph says that those extensions would bring only limited benefits to the wider south-east London area.

It also said only a small part of Crystal Palace would be connected to Tramlink, and that an extension would not increase connections with central London.

Therefore, the document states bluntly, "these extensions are not actively being progressed at this time."

That has been enough to provoke uproar in the area, with the mayor being accused of going back on several promises, including one made during a photo opportunity in the last mayoral election campaign, that the Crystal Palace line was firmly on track.

TfL managing director for planning Michele Dix issued a short statement on Wednesday, which said: "Tramlink extensions are under active consideration, with detailed feasibility and funding work ongoing with the boroughs concerned.

"The aim is develop deliverable, fundable and value-for-money schemes. This continues to be a priority for the mayor."

But her words are unlikely to cut much ice locally.

Steve Reed, the Labour MP for Croydon North, said this week of the London mayor: "Boris Johnson has shown contempt for the people of Crystal Palace.

"He promised to support the tram extension during his election campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and repeated that support as recently as March this year.

"But now we discover he had no intention of doing what he said."

Mr Reed added: "People will be bitterly disappointed that the mayor has broken his promises in this cavalier way."

His views were echoed by Labour Upper Norwood councillor Pat Ryan, who said: "I am devastated by this.

"In 2010 the mayor gave what he said was a 'gold-plated' promise to bring the tram to Crystal Palace.

"It's no wonder ordinary folk don't trust politicians any more."

The Bakerloo document has also provoked a somewhat hostile reaction from Steve O'Connell, Croydon's Conservative London Assembly member.

He said he would be tabling a question to the mayor, asking him to clarify his position, and described the Bakerloo extension as "pie in the sky".

He added: "If the mayor is using the Bakerloo Line to knock the Crystal Palace extension off the perch that is unacceptable."

It is not thought the proposed extension of the Tramlink to Sutton is under threat from this latest announcement.

Boris faces campaigners' wrath after Crystal Palace tram 'betrayal'


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