East London Thames bridge plan 'a mistake'

A new Thames bridge is being proposed linking Beckton to Thamesmead in east London, amid opposition from London Assembly members.

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A Tory member of the London Assembly has voiced his concern about possible plans for a new bridge in east London.

Gareth Bacon told the BBC's Sunday Politics show that a new "fixed crossing" would be a "mistake".

Mayor Boris Johnson scrapped plans for the Thames Gateway Bridge when first elected to office in 2008.

But, the results of a new consultation has found there is significant public support for the Beckton-to-Thamesmead link.

The proposal has been restructured twice in the last decade and more than £43m has already been spent on plans and preparatory work.

Public opposition

Mr Johnson originally cancelled the project after a public consultation received hundreds of objections from residents and environmentalists.

Start Quote

One of the principal roads is little more than a country track”

End Quote Gareth Bacon Conservative London Assembly member

However, following the most recent consultation, Transport for London (TfL) is reassessing the option of a new bridge.

But Mr Bacon urged Mr Johnson to "rule out a fixed-link crossing in that area".

Mr Bacon, who is also a councillor for Bexley in south-east London, said he is not opposed to a crossing somewhere in east London, but that the roads in his borough were "simply too small" to support the traffic from a new bridge.

'Country track'

"One of the principal roads is little more than a country track," he said.

Currently, the only crossings for cars and lorries between Rotherhithe and Dartford are the Blackwall Tunnel and Woolwich Ferry.

Prior to the latest consultation, plans for a new Thames crossing in east London included the building of a new road tunnel linking Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula and a ferry at Gallions Reach linking Thamesmead and Beckton.

But the idea of a fixed bridge at Gallions Reach - to be built by 2021 - was supported by 71% of respondents to a consultation by Transport for London (TfL), compared to 52% who backed a ferry.

Michele Dix, TfL's managing director of planning, said the Thames road bridge was "crucial".

"Apart from the opening of the QEII Bridge at Dartford there has been no increase in the capacity of the highway network across the river in east London for nearly 50 years," she said.

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