Opponents describe New Thames crossing as a waste of money
The Labour party in Wandsworth have accused the Council of spending over £500,000 on public relations for a new Thames crossing which they say is an unnecessary vanity project.
The proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge between Battersea and Pimlico is estimated to cost over £100 million to build but is only 350 yards from Vauxhall Bridge. It has the backing of Wandsworth Council but not Westminster Council who administer Pimlico. The Mayor of London has not backed the bridge at this stage because he is reviewing bridge provision following the decision not to proceed with the ‘Garden Bridge’’ although the crossing is included it the Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy.
The North Battersea Alliance Against the Bridge say that there is no local demand for the project and it is only been built because developers in the area want it. They claim that the official plans show that it would save cyclists 1 minute
and pedestrians 7 minutes. Vauxhall Bridge already has two pedestrian footpaths and a two way two lane full width cycleway.
Marsha de Cordova, the new Labour MP for Battersea said, “ Unlike further east the last thing that is needed is another bridge from the Battersea side of the Thames. My message is quite simple instead of spending the expected £100 million on another bridge spend it on projects that matter to local people. There is still time to abandon this vanity project and use the money on youth services, housing and social care. “
The architects who have done the preliminary work say that the unique spiralling form of the concept design would provide sufficient clearance for large river boats to pass underneath without creating steps or steep slopes which inhibit movement. By minimising the need to build on the riverbanks, space on each side of the river is preserved.
Public exhibitions on the bridge were recently held which the Labour party say were poorly attended. Much of money that has been spent on getting the project to this stage has come from Wandsworth Council funds.
Supporters of the project say that the outline bridge design is also one of the most affordable crossings under consideration in London and comes with a £26 million private sector funding commitment.
A council spokesman said,“We have spent money procuring a world class design team which is now developing plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Nine Elms to Pimlico, which could help London make the shift towards zero emission modes of travel transport. This is an investment in the borough’s future.”
July 12, 2017