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‘Widespread opposition’ to new Thames bridge plan

Crossing plan is criticised by Labour councillors who say suggested 'landing points' would 'cut into what little green space exists in Pimlico'

30 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot

The Nine Elms Pimlico Bridge: three ‘landing point’ locations are suggested, at St George’s Square, Dolphin Square and Claverton Street. Illustration: Wandsworth Council

THREE locations for a new ­River Thames bridge between Nine Elms and Pimlico have been unveiled.

Public exhibitions will be held about what the organisers say will “provide a safe, attractive route for pedestrians and cyclists” and help the capital meet “air quality and sustainable transport options”.

But the suggested “landing points” on the Westminster side have been criticised by Labour councillors who say it will “cut into what little green space exists in Pimlico” and push cyclists into busy main roads.

Churchill ward councillor Shamim Talukder said: “There is widespread opposition to this bridge among Pimlico residents, and we will continue to fight for those residents and oppose these plans.

“This bridge, a developer-­driven, expensive vanity project, and all of the proposed landing sites in Pimlico will impact on local residents’ lives in a very real way. We are particularly concerned about the new landing point which is being proposed right by Churchill Gardens estate.

“Plans for the bridge have been entirely led by its developers and Wandsworth Council. But any scheme needs to have the full backing of residents on both sides of the river and both local authorities. Those responsible for the bridge have so far failed to show they have either.”

The failed Garden Bridge project

Nine Elms project organisers say the scheme follows “extensive consultation and technical work” in 2017. Nine original locations have been reduced to three and the exhibition will enable residents to give the project team their opinions ahead of a final, preferred location being recommended to Wandsworth Council next year.

The design brief is “to win hearts and minds” while making “a valuable additional to our transport network”, according to Wandsworth. The landing points on each side must have a minimal impact on valuable space and should enhance the public realm.

The re-emergence of the Pimlico project follows the spectacular collapse of the Garden Bridge project. Trustees had signed a construction contract for the bridge despite a series of remaining planning-related hurdles. The decision to press on with the construction contract led to ­public losses of an estimated £46million. The scheme was scrapped in 2017.

Rory O’Broin, a cabinet councillor in Wandsworth, said: “The Nine Elms Pimlico Bridge has been identified by the draft London Plan as a crucial piece of infrastructure for our growing city.

“Londoners will benefit from direct cycling and walking to Nine Elms over a beautifully designed bridge that enables them to easily access the 25,000 new jobs, leisure attractions and green spaces that we are creating.

“We are excited to show people the three possible locations that have been shortlisted and look forward to receiving the comments of people from across the capital as we progress to a recommended location for this fantastic bridge.”

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