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Petition against Sheppard Robson bridges reaches 10,000 names

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A petition demanding an end to plans to build two Sheppard Robson-designed bridges in east London has reached 10,000 signatures.

The Save Hackney Wick group this morning had 10,280 names behind its plea for a rethink of plans for the H14 and H16 crossings on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. The petition was handed to Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell at City Hall yesterday.

The bridges are intended to connect the planned 650-home Sweetwater neighbourhood in Hackney Wick to Fish Island to the west. But they will required demolition of Vittoria Wharf – a Victorian warehouse which provides affordable workspace – and removal of the existing Monier Road footbridge.

The AJ reported last summer that a cross-party group of Assembly members, including Russell, had written to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which approved the bridges, urging that the decision be reviewed.

A spokeswoman for Save Hackney Wick today told AJ the campaign would continue even if demolition began. ’We have not had answers,’ she said. ’We intend to keep going. Something is going ahead here that is unacceptable.’

The petition states: ‘The demolition of Vittoria Wharf – one of the last historic industrial buildings on the Olympic waterways – to build an unnecessary footbridge – H16 – is against the mayor’s policy of supporting culture and protecting creative workspace. Instead, retain a rare historic building and the low-cost creative workspace as a legacy for London.’ 

It adds: ’Don’t build road bridge H14, with the loss of the current footbridge. Think about the dangers of air pollution and the consequences of car-centred development in the Olympic park. Keep Fish Island’s healthy streets as a benefit to all.

Something is going ahead here that is unacceptable

’Design a smarter new masterplan for the area. Build more greener, future-proofed solutions, community spaces, fewer roads, not the old dinosaur development that is planned.’

A spokesperson for mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the two new bridges formed part of LLDC’s wider strategy for Hackney Wick and Fish Island, which includes 4,500 new homes, new employment space and the protection and re-provision of 8,400m2 of affordable work space and artist studios.

’Part of Vittoria Wharf was acquired in 2009 specifically to enable the construction of a cycling and pedestrian bridge to improve connectivity in this rapidly developing area,’ said the spokesperson. ’That and a second bridge for all modes of transport to its north have been a longstanding part of the original masterplan for the area.

’The mayor is fully aware of the concerns raised about the new bridges causing more traffic. That is why he asked his deputy mayor for planning to meet with objectors, and for Transport for London to review LLDC’s plans. Although TfL’s review concluded that the bridges are needed to avoid future traffic congestion and associated air pollution, LLDC has been asked to develop plans for restricting the all-modes bridge to only buses, cyclists and pedestrians, working with TfL and the Greater London Authority to address the wider congestion issues.’

An LLDC spokesperson said last summer: ‘There is no further opportunity within the planning process to halt work on the bridges, which will bring significant benefits to existing and future residents and businesses.’

Sheppard Robson has been contacted for comment.

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