Published Friday, 18th June 2021
The London Borough of Sutton has submitted an ambitious bid to the Government’s new Levelling Up Fund for improved rail services in the borough.
The improvements would unlock the huge economic and scientific benefits of the emerging London Cancer Hub at Belmont, Sutton.
Sutton Council has secured widespread support for its £32m bid. These include The London Cancer Hub partners, Network Rail, the Mayor of London, Paul Scully, the MP for Sutton & Cheam and Minister for London and Neil Garratt AM, London Assembly Member for Croydon & Sutton. A full list of partners who have written to support the bid can be found below.
Sutton Council’s funding bid is focused on reinstating a twin-track rail line between Sutton and Belmont and rebuilding the Belmont Loop Line of approximately 1.5km. This will enable more frequent rail services, increasing current services from 2 trains to 4-6 trains per hour and unlocking a direct service from Belmont to London Victoria.
The Council has highlighted that Sutton is one of the worst-served boroughs in London for public transport and has received the lowest amount of transport investment of all of London’s boroughs since 2016 - just £16 million or £73 per Sutton resident over the past five years.
Local residents, thousands of patients and staff at the Royal Marsden Hospital, as well as pupils and staff at Harris Academy Sutton would benefit from the transport improvements. The upgrade is also critical to supporting the ongoing redevelopment of the London Cancer Hub.
The London Cancer Hub is a partnership between The London Borough of Sutton, The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden and the Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. The Hub will be a national asset and a global centre of excellence for life sciences, benefitting the UK and the world in the research and drug discovery in treatment of cancer. As the country recovers from the economic impacts of Covid-19, The London Cancer Hub will create 10,000 high-quality jobs in a sector that has shown resilience and will improve productivity in the sub-region, contributing £1.2bn per year to the UK economy.
Commenting on the bid, Leader of Sutton Council, Councillor Ruth Dombey, said:
"The next few years will see major improvements and investment in this part of the borough. The innovative Harris Academy, the new emergency care hospital and the flagship London Cancer Hub are all signs of growing confidence in our borough. They will bring jobs and skills for our residents, as well as improved local services.
"These projects will really put Sutton on the map. But the one map where Sutton doesn't really feature is the transport map. This funding bid by the Council is a game-changer to ensure fast and regular services from central London to Belmont.
"The range of partners backing the Council's bid shows the huge support for better public transport links to Sutton. More frequent trains will be key to maximising the benefits of these schemes in Belmont and help us meet our ambitious climate change targets. We hope the Government will respond positively."
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“The Institute of Cancer Research, London, strongly supports the London Borough of Sutton’s bid to the Levelling Up Fund to reinstate the double rail track between Belmont and Sutton stations.
“The London Cancer Hub is a unique collaboration and our shared ambition is to create the world’s leading life science and healthcare district specialising in cancer research, treatment, commercial enterprise and education.
“There is an urgent and increasing need for sustainable public transport solutions to improve access to the London Cancer Hub that align with local Sutton and London-wide plans. The proposal to improve rail access to Belmont is vital to ensuring the programme delivers on its expected benefits for cancer patients, local residents and the wider economy.”