Rotherhithe Tunnel cycle hire station
Santander Cycles can be hired as far east as Rotherhithe and Canada Water station

Greenwich Council has been pressing City Hall to extend London’s cycle hire scheme into the borough, it was revealed last night.

The town hall’s new cabinet member for sustainability told last night’s council meeting that a meeting had been held with officials from the London mayor’s office to make the case for an eastwards extension of the scheme.

However, with the nearest hire stations south of the river in Rotherhithe, any extension would need Lewisham Council to also support the project, bringing hire stations along the route of the proposed cycleway through its borough and into Greenwich.

While Greenwich had previously baulked at the cost of bringing hire bikes into the borough, it has warmed to the idea more recently. In February Sizwe James, the former cabinet member for transport, said he had met Heidi Alexander, London’s deputy mayor for transport, to discuss the issue.

Last night his successor Sarah Merrill said that council leader Danny Thorpe had been involved in discussions about an extension towards Greenwich.

“The leader and my predecessor as cabinet member for environment, sustainability and transport recently met with the mayor of London’s office, to try and accelerate bringing Santander Cycles to Greenwich,” she said in a written response to Conservative councillor Matt Clare, who has long campaigned for an extension to Greenwich and Charlton.

“Both the council and Transport for London face significant financial constraints and uncertainty. Nevertheless, we are continuing to lobby and work with Transport for London, to explore all appropriate funding options and bring Santander Cycles to Greenwich.”

In 2015 Greenwich claimed that bringing the scheme to the borough would cost between £5 million and £6 million to install, but newer bikes and a recent extension to Canada Water station have since brought the price down.

Money from new developments along the route of Cycleway 4 could be used to help pay for the scheme. The cycleway would eventually run from Tower Bridge to Woolwich, but is currently only complete in two sections: from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe and a temporary link from Greenwich to Charlton.

Santander recently renewed its sponsorship of the 11-year-old hire scheme, with TfL pledging to extend it to new areas and to introduce electric bikes. There are more than 750 docking stations and more than 14,000 bikes, but south-east London has largely been a blind spot for the scheme.

An extension into east London in 2012 brought the scheme to the Isle of Dogs, meaning riders can hire bikes from the north side of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, but not the south.

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