Global cancer research leader, London Cancer Hub, endorsed plans to extend the tram to Sutton so that more staff and patients can access the centre’s facilities.
The hub, located in Belmont just to the south of Sutton town centre, aims to become world-leading life-science campus specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise.
The proposed new route would run from South Wimbledon, through Morden to Sutton and London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed at a plenary meeting on March 8 that he would like the tram to be up and running by early 2020.
Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “The mayor’s commitment to improving transport to Sutton is a welcome statement of support for The London Cancer Hub and a real milestone for our project.
He said: “Bringing the tram to Sutton is a valuable step in fulfilling our ambitious vision for The London Cancer Hub — of creating the world’s leading life-science cluster focused on cancer.”
The hub has said that an upgrade is needed to cope with increasing traffic. They want staff and patients to be able to access the site more easily and a tram extension direct to the site would help make that possible.
They estimate an additional 4,500 trips to the site from staff and visitors.
Medical administrator and Sutton resident, Mike Hall, 46, also supports the project.
He said: “Sutton tram is a no-brainer. It means increasing services for people in the Wallington and Carshalton area plus getting rid of the ridiculous Thames link stations which wreck the Sutton-Wimbledon link.”
Sadiq Khan has said the project will cost around £300 million, and has pledged £70 million of TFL’s budget to the extension.
Steve O’Connell, Greater London assembly member for Sutton, claimed that figures he has looked at estimate a cost of up to £450 million.
Mr O’Connell expressed his concerns over the funding gap: “Each delay that we have increases that gap.”
When asked how the mayor will bridge the funding gap for the extension project, he said: “It’s really important that the councils understand the responsibility they have to try and meet the funding gap.”
Val Shawcross, the deputy mayor of London for transport, believes the Sutton tram increasingly looks like the right kind of opportunity to develop homes.
She said: “We are all the time looking for external funding sources to help boost these kinds of projects, its been very good that Merton and Sutton have been working together so very closely.
“One of the key areas of collaboration is obviously looking at what the development potential is along the route because that’s one of the ways in which we liberate resources including government grants.”