The London Borough of Sutton has made a £32 million bid to the Government’s Levelling up Fund to maximise the huge economic and scientific benefits The London Cancer Hub will bring.
The borough’s bid – which is being supported by The Institute of Cancer Research, London – is focused on reinstating the twin track between Sutton and Belmont, upgrading the rail service to Belmont rail station, and improvement works at Belmont Station. If the bid is successful, the investment will enable more frequent rail services to Belmont, increasing current services from two trains to between four and six trains per hour, providing improved connectivity for The London Cancer Hub and Belmont.
The London Borough of Sutton has received the lowest amount of transport investment of all of London's boroughs since 2016 – just £73 per Sutton resident over the past five years.
The proposed transport improvements would greatly enhance access to The London Cancer Hub – a collaboration between The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the London Borough of Sutton, which aims to create a world-leading centre for cancer research, treatment and commercial enterprise.
The bid has secured widespread and cross-party support from partners, including Network Rail, Transport for London, the Mayor of London, and from Paul Scully, MP for Sutton and Cheam and Minister for London, and Neil Garrett, the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton.
The ICR, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust have all provided letters accompanying the bid, setting out their strong support.
Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, 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 to helping 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 ICR 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.”
The London Cancer Hub partners have been making the case for major investment in transport infrastructure for the site – not only through the train network but also through a variety of other transport solutions.