The Mayor of the east London borough of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, has slammed his GLA counterpart for the ‘unnecessary delay’ in securing a new river crossing over the Thames to link east London with areas south of the river, The Newham Mag reported recently.
In attendance at a meeting of the Parliamentary Transport Committee in the Houses of Parliament, Mayor Wales said: “A bridge at Gallions Reach in Beckton has been unnecessarily delayed for seven years. Having only a ferry is simply not good enough for London in the 21st century. London is moving east and a bridge should be built urgently“.
The Newham mayor also told the committee that he was against any plans to levy tolls for vehicles using the proposed river crossing at Beckton. He argued that people living and working in west London, who have several bridges at their disposal, are not required to pay to cross them, so the same courtesy should be extending to Londoners in the east. “If there are tolls there must be reductions for local people and local concessions“, Wales added.
There was no word of the London Mayor Boris Johnson‘s response to Wales’ criticism of his cabinet’s delay in construction of the Beckton crossing, but the transport committee is currently holding an inquiry into essential crossing over the river that cuts through London and have also been scrutinising the response to the delay by the Department for Transport. Newham Council have been petitioning City Hall for several years to establish a viable river crossing linking Newham with Greenwich, with Gallions Reach, home to a shopping centre, being the preferred location.
Newham Council hopes that the proposed bridge, which will be available 24 hours a day all week, will bring massive economic benefits and jobs to their borough, which has long struggled with high unemployment rates and lack of opportunities for residents. The new bridge could also reduce commuting times and help fuel growth in the area as part of the much-vaunted London Plan in the Thames Gateway, which includes Newham and four other boroughs.
The river Thames has over 200 bridges for foot and wheel, along with 27 tunnels, six public ferries and the Emirates cable car link between the O2 and southern Newham. With the expectation of the above-river cable car route which opened in June 2012 and is rarely used, Newham’s only links with the south are an underground tunnel connecting North Greenwich and Canning Town tube stations on the Jubilee line, and a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) connection between King George V station in Silvertown and Woolwich Arsenal in Woolwich. The Woolwich area also links with Newham via the Woolwich car ferry. There are no bridges at all along Newham’s stretch of the river with the nearest one being the famous Tower Bridge, completed in 1894 and situated around six miles (ten kilometres) away.
The transport committee’s report on the Gallions Reach crossing is expected to be published later this year.
“Delay on bridge is slammed” – The Newham Mag – Issue 308, Newham Council (30 January 2015)
“List of crossings of the River Thames” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crossings_of_the_River_Thames
“Beckton Bus Station” – Google Maps, Google Inc. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Beckton+Bus+Stationemail@example.com,0.0819957,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x1f7da9fadcbde07d
“LB Newham Economic Impact of Gallions Reach Crossings” – pba Peter Brett Roger Tym/Peter Brett Associates LLP & Newham Council (March 2013) http://www.newham.gov.uk/documents/news/gallionsreachcrossingseconomicimpact.pdf
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