Mayor of Newham calls for more east London river crossings
PUBLISHED: 10:15 21 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:22 21 August 2017
The mayor of Newham has called for more river crossings to be built in east London in the wake of the scrapping of Garden Bridge plans.
The vision of a pedestrian-only walkway between Temple and the South Bank was abandoned by the trust behind the £200million project earlier this month because it did not have the support of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, having previously been backed by his predecessor Boris Johnson.
Following the announcement, Sir Robin Wales has urged the Greater London Authority to turn its attention eastwards and deliver more river crossings away from the centre of the capital.
He said: “Sometimes in politics you have to make tough, contentious decisions. 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.”
There are currently 22 river crossings west of Tower Bridge and just two to the east - Blackwall tunnel and the Dartford Crossing.
The future of the planned Silvertown tunnel is in the hands of the secretary of state for transport, while there are also plans for another crossing at Gallions Reach.
Sir Robin added: “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.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “Sadiq is committed to building greener, public transport-focused river crossings in East London. He knows that crossings are badly needed in that area and that’s why he has already set out his plans to improve travel, support new homes and business opportunities.”