Future plans

Anyone who has sat through the video of the video of Hammersmith & Fulham Community Safety & Environment Policy & Accountability Committee Meeting (which you can see here) will probably be glad that they don't sit on the committee. But someone has to do it, and we should be grateful to those who give up their time.

A few things that came up in the meeting:

Steven Cowan, leader of LHBF, said that the issue of a temporary walking and cycling bridge is actually a distraction. In fact, LBHF are considering other, nearby sites for a possible permanent walking and cycling bridge that could be used while Hammersmith Bridge itself is being repaired. He said that this would be more cost effective, and of course it would be useful for the foreseeable future.

However, Cllr Cowan also said that their long term plan was to make Hammersmith Bridge fit for motor vehicles again, and to allow private cars to cross - which will be a disappointment to many people.

A ferry service is actively being considered, though there are many unanswered questions about this.

The idea of a temporary road bridge has, thank goodness, been ruled out. The cost and timescale have been judged to be way in excess of the quoted £7m and three months, and the project would cause a great deal of local disruption. It is completely unrealistic.

If the bridge is restored to private cars, a toll might be considered - though of course, this might cause tight-fisted drivers to use neighbouring bridges instead.

There was a bit of party politicking, of course, and I quite admired the calmness of the chair while Cllr Brocklebank-Fowler wasted everyone's time by asking questions that had already been answered, and demanding apologies for the failure of a bridge that has been neglected by politicians of all parties for years. But that's the sort of thing you need to put up with when you become a councillor, I suppose.

So, it's a bit disappointing that the ambition is still to go backwards and restore the bridge for cars, but at least there is hope that people on foot and on bikes may be able to cross again before too long, and may even get their own, permanent bridge.

Posted on 21st September 2020

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