Mayor Wobbles on the Tram

Admits scheme could be ditched if Crossrail is approved

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In the first signs of a change of heart over the controversial plans for a tram along the Uxbridge Road the Mayor of London has said he may be prepared to ditch the plan if a Brown led government approves Crossrail.

Speaking on ITV's The London Debate , Mr Livingstone
revealed, "If we get Crossrail we will review whether or not we proceed with the tram."

There would be substantial duplication in the routes of the two schemes and Crossrail could undermine the financial position of the tram which is already likely to run at a deficit.

Campaigners against the £800million scheme - including an alliance of all three councils along the route - now sense the first signs of a softening of the Mayor's position.

Arguing against the 13 mile tram line Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said, "This is the first sign of a wobble from the Mayor on the Uxbridge Road tram. Until last week his blinkered approached meant that he was not prepared to listen to other transport solutions. This council, along with the vast majority of local residents, has been saying for years that the tram will cause misery for commuters by effectively closing down Uxbridge Road."

Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Hillingdon councils held a tram summit earlier this year to rally opposition against the scheme. The summit coincided with a MORI poll on behalf of Transport for London that showed a majority of residents opposed the scheme and with 53 per cent believing they would not derive any benefit at all from the tram.

Sam Covington, who questioned the Mayor at The London Debate, says, "We are all delighted that The Mayor is not totally committed to the West London Tram. Having said that, Save Shepherd's Bush Streets (SSBS) will continue to raise awareness of the proposed tramway and fight tooth and nail to stop it happening."

Campaigners have long argued that the tram would lead to side roads becoming clogged up with cars rat-running though densely packed residential streets as well as killing off local shops along the route. The tram proposal has already cost £40million and is now 18 months behind schedule.

June 27, 2007