Plans for a rail link at a regeneration scheme have suffered a setback after Transport for London (TfL) revealed it is currently unable to fund the project.

The London-wide transport body told Barnet Council it could not foot the £1.4 million bill for a platform designed to link Brent Cross to the proposed West London Orbital line “given the current financial climate”.

Plans have been drawn up to build an interchange linking Brent Cross West railway station with the proposed West London Orbital Route, which would run from Hounslow and Kew Bridge towards Hendon and West Hampstead.

But with work on the station due to start in September, the council will look at other funding options for the interchange, as integrating the route at a later date could cost up to £10 million.

In a letter to the council, Matthew Rheinberg, major projects manager at TfL, said: “Given the current financial climate and while we await longer term certainty on TfL funding, we are not able to contribute the estimated £1.4 million that is necessary for the changes to be made to the detailed design ourselves.

“We recognise that boroughs face the same kind of pressures. Given this background, we have looked at potential alternative funding sources but there are none that would be available within the required timescale.”

The letter adds that the decision “does not preclude the future integration of the WLO at Brent Cross West station”.

TfL’s finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with income from fares dropping by 90 per cent. The Government agreed a £1.6 billion bailout for TfL in May, which includes a £505 million loan.

The implications for the Brent Cross West project were discussed at a meeting of the housing and growth committee on Monday (September 14).

Cllr Ross Houston (Labour, West Finchley) called on councillors to lobby the Government for the £1.4 million, as he said it will be “challenging” for TfL to provide the funds given the collapse in revenue.

“It would be really good to enable that orbital railway link, ten years from now, to come in,” Cllr Houston added. “Let’s keep this open. If TfL change their mind, great – but I think, in the current climate, that is unlikely.”

Cllr Peter Zinkin (Conservative, Childs Hill) suggested looking for money under the council’s “shovel-ready projects” that could help finance the link.

Councillors unanimously agreed to lobby the Government and TfL for funding.

Despite the setback, a council report states that “good progress is being made across the (Brent Cross) programme”.