Lewisham has spent more than £23,000 on promoting the Bakerloo Line extension so far. 

Transport for London is proposing to extend the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham via Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate.

The latest consultation, now open and running until December 22, follows feedback from previous consultations in 2014 and 2017.

Lewisham Council says 27,000 new homes could be built to tackle the housing crisis as a result of the extension.

Responding to a question from a member of the public to full council, who was concerned not enough air time was being given to the Lewisham Station upgrade compared to the BLE, Councillor Brenda Dacres published a breakdown from 2017 to 2019, not including staffing.  

Printed materials, banners and online advertising cost £1,843.26 between 2017 and 2019, while conference stands and entry, and printed promotional materials cost £21,436.50. 

Nick Patton also asked: “Why does the council campaign vigorously and publicly for a major upgrade of Lewisham station, which is seriously overcrowded and congested at peak times, no longer fit for purpose and getting busier, like it does for the Bakerloo Line Extension (BLE), which is not yet approved or funded, at least 10 years away, and expected to further increase station user numbers?” 

Mr Patton asked how much had been spent on promoting an upgrade for the station but Cllr Dacres said promoting it would not be “good value for money”.

The cabinet member for environment and transport said: “The delivery of a transformational upgrade of Lewisham Station is an issue of critical importance to the Council, which will impact on our ability to deliver new housing and jobs in Lewisham town centre.  

“However, the process to secure that investment is essentially an administrative exercise of Network Rail making the technical and business case to officials at the Department for Transport.  

“While we are currently advancing well in this work behind-the-scenes, it is unlikely that spending money on a public campaign will ultimately have any impact on the speed or scale of improvements to be made at Lewisham Interchange, and it is not therefore considered good value for money.”

Cllr Dacres described the BLE as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform connectivity in Lewisham and deliver thousands of new affordable homes” but said it was “not a done deal”.

She said:  “The pathway to securing what is ultimately a political decision to push this project forward will involve extensive campaigning and lobbying of government and City Hall, as well as working as a cross-London political and business coalition.  

“Our ‘Back the Bakerloo’ campaign has already made significant inroads in raising the profile of the project with decision makers at City Hall, in Government and with industry stakeholders across the capital. ” 

At the full council meeting on Wednesday (November 27), Cllr Dacres told Mr Patton: “I absolutely agree with you that we should be shouting from the rafters about what we’re doing behind the scenes with Network Rail because we do meet with them very regularly about this issue.

“And it’s not to say that it’s less important than the Bakerloo Line, I agree that’s it’s definitely something that we need to make sure we’re pushing for and that’s something we are absolutely committed to and are doing.

“You may find that we’re not doing enough publicly and that we might be saying a bit more about the Bakerloo Line – that’s because we see this as a once in a generation opportunity to get that London infrastructure through Lewisham, through to Catford and beyond.”

She said once the consultation for the BLE is complete, the council can tell the public more about the plans for Lewisham Station.