Councils in east London are lobbying the government to reinstate plans for a £450m bridge over the Thames just weeks after it was axed by the capital’s mayor, writes Joey Gardiner.
The bridge, linking Beckton and Thamesmead, was supposed to be funded using £350m in government PFI credits, while Transport for London (TfL) was to pay its development costs and reduce the impact of the greater volume of traffic that the bridge would cause in neighbouring boroughs. This could have cost up to £100m.
The PFI funding is still available, but mayor Boris Johnson last month decided to remove the TfL funding from his spending programme, which has jeopardised the plans.
However, the London boroughs of Newham and Greenwich, where the ends of the bridge were to have fallen, are hoping to find funding to continue to develop the scheme, which is seen as crucial to the development of the Thames Gateway.
Conor McAuley, executive member for regeneration at Newham, said his borough was talking to Greenwich council, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and the government about other options.
He said: “The boroughs are looking at other options for how the bridge might be funded, with the possibility that another agency could take over as the client.”
The scheme had been due to go to a second public inquiry early next year. A source close to the moves said that only “a few million pounds” would be needed to pay for the public inquiry and keep the scheme alive.