Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has backed extending the Croydon Tramlink to Sutton, but there is still no funding commitment for the project.

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In a visit to the borough yesterday with Chancellor George Osborne, Mr Goldsmith met with a delegation of South London businesses to discuss the benefits of bringing the network to Sutton.

The mayoral hopeful said he wanted further devolution of Transport for London (TfL) to pay for the tram connection. 

He added: “There are two options; one, we get a cheque from the Chancellor but given the constraints that the Government is facing that is unlikely.

“The alternative is devolution to enable us to benefit from the property uplift, we know that when you grow the transport network the first thing that happens is land value goes up.

“Where land is unlocked directly as a consequence of TfL investments it is not a big stretch that the property tax harvested off the back of that should be kept in London.

“It would enable us to be much more ambitious and bullish when it comes to making plans for transport link expansions.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “We have to make sure we can afford it and of course London taxpayers want to make sure it is good value for money.

“How you pay for that is a big question in a country where we don’t want to raise taxes and want to make sure people can keep as much of their income as possible.

“Looking at new tax revenue that comes about because of a new Tramlink or new businesses being created or new homes being built I think is really exciting.”

Sutton Council has been pushing for the Tramlink alongside neighbouring Merton Council for the last three years.

Sutton councillor Jill Whitehead, chair of the environment and neighbourhoods committee, said: “We welcome a commitment from any mayoral candidate.

“Sutton is now the only London borough without existing services or confirmed investment on the London underground, London overground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) or new Crossrail networks.”

The hoped-for route would link Morden town centre to Sutton town centre, terminating near Sutton railway station. A second phase would see the tram link extended to Sutton’s Life Science Site at Belmont.

The cost for both phases is estimated at between £200 and £400 million but the project is projected to bring major economic and social benefits to South London, including creating more than 10,000 long-term jobs, improving access to education, retail and leisure facilities, transport capacity growth and a reduction in car usage.

In September 2014 a joint survey between Sutton and Merton councils found 84 per cent of the 9,846 respondents strongly supported or supported the plans to extend the tram to Sutton. In October Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan tentatively backed the project but said he would wait to see evidence it would really make a difference.