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Sadiq Khan raises doubts over Nine Elms bridge

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The mayor of London has questioned proposals for a competition-winning footbridge connecting Nine Elms and Pimlico in London

Last year Wandsworth Council chose Danish architecture and engineering practice Bystrup with Robin Snell Architects to design a new £40 million crossing, following an international contest which attracted 74 entries from across the globe.

However the result sparked a backlash from both design experts and local residents, particularly those north of the river in Westminster who were concerned about its landing site in Pimlico Gardens (see AJ 01.12.15).

As well as a petition against the competition and a ’wide-ranging community campaign’, Labour and Conservative councillors on Westminster Council voiced ‘cross-party opposition’ to the 920m-long pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Now Khan appears to have poured more cold water on the scheme, which is backed by Wandsworth Council and Transport for London (TfL), after he announced that the bridge could not go ahead without ‘support from all’.

In a written answer to a question from Labour assembly member Andrew Dismore, Khan said: ’I understand that residents in the Pimlico area have concerns about the proposal and the impact it could have on the local area.

’No further work is being undertaken by TfL at this time and it is clear that any scheme requires support from all affected authorities.’

Labour councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams for the Churchill area said: ’We call upon Wandsworth Council to stop the current project and genuinely engage with the local community.

’Wandsworth could have consulted and worked with local people but from their behaviour it’s obvious they’ve never really wanted to work with communities in Pimlico, but want to force through a bridge which will have a major impact on Pimlico without even genuinely consulting them first.’

Comment from Wandsworth Council

’We fully recognise the concerns local people and ward councillors in Pimlico have raised and clearly there is a need to build consensus before a strategic transport project like this can progress. The bridge is still at an early stage of design development and it has always been the intention to carry out wider consultation and engagement work as the outline proposals takes on a firmer shape. Westminster Council and the Mayor of London will be invited to participate fully in this process we want to ensure as many residents as possible on both sides of the river and across London can have their say.

This is one of the most affordable infrastructure schemes in London’s pipeline

’The bridge is part of the Mayor’s London Plan and Transport for London’s feasibility study confirms it has a Cost Benefit Ratio well above the Government’s value for money thresholds. In the context of our city’s population pressures, transport demands and very serious air quality issues, it is important that all sustainable transport schemes are fully explored. Having already secured £25million in private sector funding for this scheme we have a funding gap of around £14million, so this is also one of the most affordable major infrastructure schemes in London’s planning pipeline.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • At least it doesn't appear likely to have nearly such a heavy impact on river views as the Garden Bridge.
    But isn't this another case where the Thames in central London is threatened with bridge developments that have far wider significance than to just the local residents?
    It's absolutely right that the local councils should have their say, particularly on local concerns, but so should the rest of us - and not just Londoners and their Mayor.
    In years gone by the Royal Fine Arts Commission would have been consulted on such projects of national significance, but what happens now?

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