Putney MP To Hold Boat Race Day Protest on River

Joining local rowing clubs and schools to highlight the issue of Hammersmith Bridge

Fleur Anderson MP by Hammersmith Bridge


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This Saturday (3 April) Putney’s MP Fleur Anderson is teaming up with local rowing organisations, Putney High School and constituents to raise awareness of the continued problems caused by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

A protest will be held in which the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will be called on to fund the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge. 

There will boats out on the river at 3pm and a big banner for residents to sign in protest from 1pm - 4pm.

Fleur Anderson said, “Hammersmith Bridge is so dangerous that the Putney Boat Race won’t be in Putney for the first time since the Second World War. The bridge must be fixed by next year’s boat race weekend and that means the Transport Secretary must fund the repair work urgently.

“Putney residents are furious about the lack of action and we’re coming out in socially distanced force to demand funding for the bridge which affects people across London and beyond.

“I have joined forces with local MPs to repeatedly ask for a meeting with the Transport Secretary to ask for an explanation for the delays and these have been ignored. The Minister set up a ‘decisive and quick’ Task Force to sort this out last September, but there has been no task and no force and most importantly no funding. “

She added that action was needed immediately unless next year’s race would be in Cambridgeshire again rather than on the Thames and called for the plan submitted by Hammersmith and Fulham Council to be expedited so that the boat race can be brought back and the ‘travel misery’ for local residents can end.

Speaking of the event she said, “I am absolutely delighted the Putney High School, London Rowing Club and the Youth River Club will be putting boats out on the water on Saturday in support of this. The closure of the bridge is causing travel chaos for local residents and severely restricting clubs like these abilities to train effectively.”

Putney High School GDST Head Suzie Longstaff said, “The bridge closure has drawn a line through south west London, with school children amongst those bearing the brunt of the split. Pupils who have the misfortune to live on the ‘wrong side’ are now enduring long commutes simply to cross the river to school.

“The impact on daily lives is matched only by that on the environment. Because of the bridge closure, our roads are full.

Mrs Longstaff, a former Olympian who herself coxed Cambridge University’s men’s second crew, Goldie, in the 1997 and 1998 Boat Races, added,“As a rowing school, we are keen to find a solution which allows boats to pass under the bridge as well as one which enables people to pass over it. That’s why we are joining this local effort. It’s not about party politics – it’s about working together on an issue which concerns our whole community.”

Ms Anderson claims that the closure especially affects Putney residents as there are an estimated 4,000 additional vehicles a day coming through the area leading to considerably longer journey times.

She commented, “The High Street is already one of the most polluted in London, and we need the bridge to reopen to cut the traffic and clean up our air.”

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April 1, 2021

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