Hammersmith Bridge: Government failed to take up TfL and City Hall funding bids, documents show
Sadiq Khan and Transport for London have been frustrated in attempts to secure government financial help with repairing Hammersmith Bridge despite the need for it being impressed on ministers for months, according to correspondence and documentation seen by On London.
In an unpublished letter dated 14 February 2020, deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander informed transport minister Baroness Vere that “without government support we will very quickly reach the point where works on the bridge will have to stop”...
...Subsequently, in June 2020, the Mayor included Hammersmith Bridge in a list of so-called “shovel-ready” projects supplied to communities secretary Robert Jenrick in conjunction with the capital’s local enterprise partnership after Jenrick had invited pitches for a share of a national £900 million for local infrastructure projects. Jenrick replied on 1 July, saying £22.1 million would be awarded to London in all, but none was allocated for the bridge.
The party politics surrounding Hammersmith Bridge are utterly depressing, aren't they? The engineering problems are difficult enough, as well as the management of traffic displacement. And we still aren't really clear what anyone's final plan is.
LBHF say they are restoring the bridge to its "Victorian splendour" - but there weren't any cars around in Victorian times. LBRuT aren't actually responsible for the bridge, but they seem to be in favour of allowing cars back onto it.
And you may remember a toe-curling video published before the last General Election in which Zac Goldsmith, the Tory candidate, got Grant Shapps to promise that he would allocate money for repairs - all of which was forgotten when Goldsmith lost the seat.
What we need is for whoever's in charge to set out a plan:
- in the short term, either fix the bridge enough to allow walkers and people on bikes to cross it again, or build the temporary walking and cycling bridge for which plans exist
- for the long-term future, aim to allow pedestrians, people on bicycles and some form of public transport to cross the bridge.
But most importantly, our so-called leaders should stop acting like children, blaming each other and flailing around without a plan. Yes, Grant Shapps, we're looking at you.
Posted on 11th September 2020