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Gateway bridge under threat as campaigners and council unite

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Serious and influential opposition to a cornerstone of the government's massive Thames Gateway proposals is gathering pace in south-east London.

Local groups are demanding that Marks Barfield Architects' plans to build a huge new bridge across the Thames Estuary (pictured) be scrapped.

And they have won support from the London Borough of Bexley, which has called on Greenwich council - the local planning authority - to reject the most recent application.

Bexleyheath-based campaign group Action Group Against the Bridge, which has organised public demonstrations, is heading up major local opposition. The two leaders, Jacqui and Stephen Wise, said the bridge will lead to a 'massive increase' in the local weight of traffic and that the impact on local communities had not been thought through.

The two attended a special Bexley planning meeting, where councillors debated the proposals.

And in a special report, the planning committee concluded that more assessment work should be carried out before the bridge gets the green light.

It said: 'This council supports the construction of the bridge, but remains concerned about the environmental impact of the traffic levels likely to be generated, on the quality of life of residents of the borough, and on the ability of the road network to continue to function effectively.' However, the bridge's supporters insist that these issues have already been covered. 'This is Bexley responding to Greenwich council and is another step forward for the bridge, ' a Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said.

'TfL has been working with the boroughs to identify likely impacts, and a budget of £11.4 million has been set aside to monitor, review and develop traffic management schemes, ' he added.

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