Plans for Leyton station upgrade move ahead

Plans for a “desperately needed” upgrade to Leyton station are still moving ahead, despite the uncertain state of Transport for London (TfL) finances.

The plan is to add more ticket barriers and step-free access, which Waltham Forest Council hopes will expand capacity ahead of thousands of new homes being built nearby.

The future of the upgrade was thrown into doubt with the fall in  passenger numbers during the pandemic but TfL has confirmed it is still working on detailed designs.

According to a report approved by cabinet on March 17, TfL has covered the design costs so far but needs to make a formal funding agreement with the council to go to the next stage.

Deputy leader Clyde Loakes said: “Anyone who has used Leyton Tube station at home time will know… it is not fit for purpose for the 20th century, nevermind the 21st. We desperately need to see this tube station modernised  as soon as possible.

“Clearly the global pandemic has affected the finances of TfL and has had an impact on this project, however it’s pleasing to note that this is one of two projects [in Waltham Forest] that TfL are keen to keep moving forward.”

The council is confident about the need for a station upgrade post-pandemic, noting in its report that Leyton was “one of London’s top-10 busiest stations as COVID restrictions were lifted”.

In a statement made to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a TfL spokesperson recognised the importance of supporting “thousands of new homes,” but warned the upgrade “remains dependent on securing sufficient long-term funding from Government”.

As it stands, TfL’s funding has been secured only until June this year.

According to a report before cabinet in January last year, a new station, footbridge and lifts were first estimated to cost £30million before being revised down.

Over the next 15 years, the council hopes to build around 7,000 new homes around Leyton station, creating “thousands of jobs” in new commercial, cultural and community spaces.

The report added: “This includes the council’s joint venture partnership to deliver 750 new homes as part of a mixed-use scheme on its land at Coronation Square, as well as key strategic sites within the Leyton Mills Development Framework area, particularly the retail park and New Spitalfields Market.

“These sites have the potential to deliver thousands of new affordable homes, commercial, cultural and community uses, as well as the longer term opportunities associated with the development of a campus for the University of Portsmouth in the borough.

“Furthermore, the station is the gateway to Leyton and the south of the borough, providing the key point of access for the town centre, cultural and leisure destinations including Leyton Orient FC, Leyton Sports Ground and the north of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter