|H&F Council Told To 'Get Your Finger Out' Over Hammersmith Bridge|
| Labour MP accuses Wandsworth's Tory Leader of playing party politics on issue
The leader of Wandsworth Council has called on Putney’s new Labour MP to write to Hammersmith and Fulham asking them “to get your finger out and fix the bridge”.
Conservative Ravi Govindia said Hammersmith and Fulham’s handling of the bridge “is a complete disaster, not only for this borough, but for the whole of South West London,” and pointed to Wandsworth’s upkeep of Putney and Wandsworth bridges as examples of “ensuring critical parts of London’s road infrastructure last for generations to come”.
Hammersmith Bridge was closed to motor vehicles last April after long-standing corrosion was discovered in critical parts of the suspension structure.
Cllr Govindia made the comments at Wandsworth’s full council meeting this Wednesday (5 February) in response to a question posed by Cllr Fleur Anderson, the new Labour MP for Putney.
Cllr Anderson asked the leader to detail the meetings he had held with the leaders at Hammersmith and Fulham and the government to support the £120 million funding required to fix the bridge.
She also asked if he felt he was letting residents down by having “an attitude of blame” towards Hammersmith and Fulham, and was “just playing party politics at a time when we need to come together and fix this bridge”.
Cllr Govindia confirmed officers have been meeting with representatives from Hammersmith and Fulham and Transport for London on a weekly basis, but soon turned to criticise Cllr Anderson on what she has done as a member of parliament about the closure.
He said Cllr Anderson ought to work for Putney and Wandsworth “and not look to bail out an inefficient Labour administration across the river.”
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is working with TfL to fully restore the 132-year-old structure.
The closure will last until major refurbishment works are complete, which is estimated to be in approximately three years’ time.
The first stage of the work is underway, with TfL contributing £25m, but more money will be needed for the next phase of construction.
A contract is expected to be awarded this spring.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
February 6, 2020