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Union says new Thames bridge is waste of money

Union says new Thames bridge is waste of money

17 December 2015 Email this article

The GMB union says that Transport for London should abandon its plans for a new footbridge across the Thames to link Pimlico and Nine Elms.

It says the crossing is only being built to satisfy property developers in the Nine Elms district and there are much greater priorities for public money, including new crossings in east London.

Transport for London (TfL) is planning to build a new Thames crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico some 350 yards from the existing Vauxhall Bridge.  TFL says it will cost £40m to build, of which £26m is coming from “income generated by” new private development sites in the Nine Elms regeneration area, according to Wandsworth Council, which is also backing the project. However, according to the GMB, the total project cost could be as much as £100m.

A design by a team led by Bystrup Architecture Design & Engineering was selected as the winner of a design competition for the bridge last month. Bystrup’s team also included Robin Snell & Partners, Sven Ole Hansen ApS, Aarsleff, ÅF Lighting Aecom, Cowi Engineering and DP9.

However, GMB is calling for no further taxpayer’s monies to be spent on the project. GMB said that a new Thames River crossing at this location is not needed and if funds are available they should be spent on new crossings further east of the Blackwall Tunnel.

GMB regional secretary Paul Maloney said "What we have here are property developers attempting to dictate that up to £100m of very scarce public money be spent on a new crossing a few minutes away from the existing Vauxhall Bridge.

“Vauxhall Bridge already has two pedestrian footpaths and a two-way two-lane full-width cycle-way.  Unlike further east in London there is no demand from local people for a new Thames river crossing on the very good grounds that there is absolutely no need for it.

“It is a scandal that Wandsworth Council has already spent over £100,000 on this project at a time when they are cutting services and jobs and terms and conditions of employment.

“Over the last three years in Wandsworth GMB has campaigned against sale of school playing fields, the abandoning of the meals on wheels service, closure of libraries, adventure playgrounds, OneO'clock clubs, cuts to youth provision, school crossing patrols, and against the pay to play schemes like to one in Battersea Park.

“GMB call on mayoral candidates to oppose any further public spending on this vanity project being promoted by Wandsworth Tory council and to pledge that monies saved will be put to better use."