The Mayor of Newham has used the abandonment of the Garden Bridge project to renew his call for a road bridge at Gallions Reach.
Sir Robin Wales welcomed the decision by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to withdraw funding guarantees for the controversial central London link. Following his decision, and a damning independent review, the Garden Bridge Trust wound up the operation.
However, the need for better cross-river links in the east of the capital remains firmly on Mr Khan’s agenda. In his draft transport strategy, he backed a new link at Silvertown, a Canary Wharf cycle bridge and a DLR crossing at Gallions Reach.
Sir Robin wants the mayor to go further, adding a highway crossing that would link the Royal Docks to Woolwich and Thamesmead. The idea has been raised many times – and killed off by successive mayors, with Mr Khan pushing for an agenda that increases public transport usage and cuts down on cars.
On the Garden Bridge decision, Sir Robin said: “Sadiq Khan was right to pull support for the Garden Bridge because it has been an unwelcome distraction from the more pressing need for investment in additional river crossings east of Tower Bridge.
“It is absurd that £50million has been wasted by this Conservative government on a vanity project in a part of London which already has a roaring business and tourist trade.
“Large employers and international investors have made their intentions clear that they want to move to east London to take advantage of the cheaper real estate and the burgeoning tourist trade arising around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“TfL has strong and clear evidence that a road crossing at Gallions Reach is the best option for tackling congestion and supporting the current and future economy in this part of London.
“Now the Garden Bridge is out of the way, plans for additional river crossings in east London must be prioritised to further unlock potential around the Royal Docks and London Riverside and secure the extra financial boost for the capital.”
The London Mayor’s draft transport strategy, out to consultation until October 2, suggests that no other river crossings will be considered until these two are delivered and their impact evaluated, meaning that it could be at least 2030 before any further crossings are proposed and implemented.