MP Zac Goldsmith told Parliament today he was “very disappointed” no request for funding to repair Hammersmith Bridge has been lodged with Government months after it was closed.
Neither Transport for London nor the bridge’s owner, the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, have contacted the Department for Transport for help, minister Michael Ellis told Zac in Parliament.
The Richmond Park MP was in the Commons to ask if ministers would allocate funding to repair the bridge, which closed on April 10 due to ‘critical faults’ following a routine inspection.
However, the minister quickly replied: “Neither the borough nor Transport for London has approached the department to seek funding to repair the bridge.”
He then added: “Transport in London is, of course, devolved to the Mayor of London. I have been astonished and exasperated in just the last couple of weeks in the department to see how badly run Labour London’s transport is, and I am astonished by the indolence of the Labour London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. Hammersmith Bridge is being neglected….by the Mayor, who is asleep on the job.”
Zac told the minister: “I am very disappointed that they have not done so.” He added; “I understand the temptation for the Government to see this as a local issue, but it is much more than that.
“Greater London has just 33 major crossings; this one took 20,000 cars and 1,800 buses a day, so its closure for up to three years is catastrophic for residents and businesses, and is causing mayhem in an already congested part of London.
“I was disappointed to hear what the Minister said about not being approached by the borough or TfL—that needs to change—but the Government also need to show a proper interest, so may I please urge him to look at the matter again.”
The closure is causing misery for countless thousands of Londoners – many of them Zac’s constituents - with buses diverted and emergency services unable to get into Barnes easily.
Last week Zac was forced to hold two consecutive public meetings in Barnes on the issue in one evening after more than 500 people turned up at a church with space for only 250.
Fellow Conservative Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands also raised the matter in the Commons with the minister and asked him to “bang heads between the two warring Labour authorities and get the bridge open again”.
“It is now two months since the bridge closed, and the Thames is uncrossable for a remarkable three and a half-mile stretch,” he explained.
“In that time, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has not yet even produced a report diagnosing the problems. All that it has done is have a row with Labour-run Transport for London over funding for work when it has not yet worked out what it needs.”
A full Hansard transcript is available at this link.