South London “isn’t really benefiting” from transport infrastructure under Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s leadership, says Steve O’Connell.

Croydon and Sutton’s London Assembly member made the point after querying whether people should be satisfied with commitments to deliver the multi-million pound Sutton tram extension.

The project would not be completed until 2025 at the earliest but Transport for London (TfL) insist they will “continue to develop proposals” for the extension.

During Mayor’s Question time on January 17, he said: “We’ve heard elsewhere that Crossrail continues to soak up public funds at an alarming rate. I have always contended that has potentially little benefit for south London, but that would be a debate we probably haven’t got time for.

“There is a consultation around reducing certain bus services around parts of south London town centres.

“I understand that the Bakerloo Line extension is moving away from us in practicality terms.

“It could be argued, mayor, that south London isn’t really benefitting from transport infrastructure under your leadership.”

But Mr Khan countered to say the Sutton tram extension is the “most advanced it has ever been” and outlined what he thinks are positives south Londoners have seen since he became mayor.

He said: “The Sutton tram extension is the most advanced it has even been. We’ve been working on this ever since I became mayor, this is the most advanced it has been.

“Croydon has seen, in the recent past, a nine percent increase in bus services. They have seen an increase in bus services as a direct result of me being mayor.

“South Londoners have also benefitted from the TfL fares freeze over the last three years.

“By 2020 the average household in Sutton and Croydon will benefit £200 as a consequence of the TfL fares freeze, but also the investment of putting into buses over the next period will benefit residents in Sutton and Croydon as well.”

The latest five-year TfL Business Plan, released last December, says the development of proposals to extend the tram network from Merton into Sutton is one of its major long-term projects.

Mr O’Connell questioned whether people should be satisfied with the commitment, to which Mr Khan insists he remains “committed to improving transport in Sutton”.

He added: “Our transport strategy sets out our policies to develop proposals for this project. This is backed in TfL’s business plan, with £70 million from the growth fund formally committed to this project.

“The scheme will improve public transport and access to jobs in a part of London that, for too long, has been too dependent on cars or unreliable and infrequent rail services.

“Crucially, it’ll support thousands of new homes and jobs across Sutton and Merton, which is vital to help solve London’s housing shortfall.

“To support a potential future application for powers to construct the scheme, TfL needs to demonstrate that all possible options have been considered.”

The first round of consultations closed on January 6 this month and TfL will report its outcome in the spring, before a second consultation gets underway during September later this year.