East London MPs slam Boris over delays in bridge report

By Rob Virtue on December 13, 2013 10:19 AM |

thames gateway bridge.jpg

A group of MPs have written to Boris Johnson urging for him to push ahead on a consultation on the proposed Thames bridge at Gallions Reach.

A consultation into river crossings earlier this year showed, as well as backing a tunnel at Silvertown, the public wanted a new bridge further east, rather than Transport for London's proposal of a new ferry in the region.

TfL said it would run a new study between October and December specifically tackling the Gallion's issue.

However, so far nothing has materialised and MPs are now demanding answers.

They have been also angered by the announcement last week of Government funding of £30million for a "garden crossing" between Temple and the South Bank.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse said: "We need more action on east London river crossings now. Instead of pursuing a vanity project in the west Boris needs to build bridges in the east. We've seen spectacular regeneration in recent years and for this to continue we need the right infrastructure to support it.

"Crossings will mean more jobs, more growth, less congestion and a brighter, more prosperous future for east London."

The letter was also signed by Rushanara Ali of Bethnal Green and Bow, Nick Raynsford of Greenwich and Woolwich, Margaret Hodge of Barking, Stephen Timms of Newham and Teresa Pearce of Erith and Thamesmead.

It began: "Congratulations on securing £30 million of public money from HM Treasury to fund a new "garden crossing" between Temple and the South Bank".

"I'm sure you are aware that once it is completed, it will be the 24th road or pedestrian bridge in London to the west of Tower Bridge, compared to just four to the east."

It concluded by saying: "Given your success in progressing the "Garden Bridge", we wondered what update you had on the proposals for a crossing at Gallions Reach and when we can expect the publication of the (now overdue) report."

There was backing for the MPs' letter from the business community.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "East London is crying out for a new bridge. The city is growing east, and is poorly served in terms of ways to cross the river. We believe this is holding back further economic growth in the area.

"We need the Mayor to make public any updates he has on the possibility of a new bridge at Gallions Reach and ensure that the consultation expected earlier this year is published sooner rather than later. The potential for growth in the area is great and we need to see action soon to ensure that this potential is realised to its fullest."

Meanwhile, the MPs have also agreed to meet with campaigners against east London river crossings, including the Silvertown Tunnel.

The activists believe more bridges and tunnels in the region will create more congestion.

TfL's Managing Director of Planning, Michele Dix, said: "A range of views were expressed in the river crossings consultation earlier this year which have generated the need to do further work to determine the traffic, environmental and regeneration impacts of the options for replacing the Woolwich ferry before consulting further on these options next year."

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