A link between Sutton town centre and Merton could be a reality sooner than was expected, the Mayor of London said this week. 

Sadiq Khan was grilled on when a tram extension would be introduced by London Assembly member for Sutton and Croydon, Steve O’Connell. 

Mr Khan said that a first round of public consultation closed on January 6 with 6,000 responses – It asked for views on three possible options.

The first is the Sutton to Wimbledon tram and the second two include “bus rapid transit”.

At a Mayor’s question time on Thursday (January 17) Mr Khan said: “While improved public transport in Sutton and Merton has been an aspiration for many years, development of options to deliver this improvement is far more advanced than it ever has been before.

“If the funding needed can be secured quickly and if there are no delays in gaining planning consent then services could commence in the mid 2020s, this should give your constituents the confidence that real progress is being made.”

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Previously it was not thought any work would start before 2025.

Mr O’Connell asked why the consultation extended to a bus link which he described as ‘leftfield’.

Mr Khan said this was to “make sure all choice was given to the community”.

But when pressed by the member for Sutton and Croydon, the mayor admitted that funding the project would be a challenge.

He said: “There is a shortfall, none of us are hiding from that.

“We will be lobbying the government for a spending review and for whatever funding schemes they can give.

“There is no doubt that funding all the options is a challenge.”