I’ve had to get myself to East Ham twice in the past three days so I am more
than a little biased in favour of more river crossings. Teresa O’Neill and Boris
Johnson were damn fools to put a stop to Ken Livingstone’s bridge. Now that they
realise how stupid they were Bexley Council has several times tried to confuse the
issue at Council meetings by telling us that Ken’s relatively small scale bridge
was the same as the three lane motorway bridge thrown out by the planning inspector
several years earlier.
It would probably become clear sooner or later so it may as well be now, but I thought London was mad to elect Sadiq Khan as Mayor. The only plus I could see was that he might not be such a fan of O’Neill and perhaps clip her wings. I suppose one could say he has done that but I am not so sure it is panning out the way I would like.
A couple of weeks ago Mr. Khan made his river crossings announcement. No mention of the Gallions Reach and Belvedere crossings, plans for which were well advanced and consultations done. Instead there is to be a DLR extension to Thamesmead, the Greenwich side, and no advance tip off to Bexley Council.
Councillor Gareth Bacon who is also Bexley’s GLA Member doesn’t like Khan any more than I do and says he “has torn up years of work”.
These are extremely complex engineering projects that will be very expensive, take a lot of time and require major consultation with residents in the affected areas and the relevant boroughs, including Bexley, Newham, Greenwich and Havering.
Yet the Mayor felt it appropriate to simply go ahead and announce a DLR extension at Gallions Reach without speaking in any detail with the affected local authorities, despite knowing it could blow their hard-thought proposals out of the water.
Not only has Sadiq Khan risked severely damaging the relationship between City Hall and the local boroughs in east London, he has also left major doubts over his ability to deliver these much-needed crossings.
The Mayor has been entirely cavalier in his approach to these river crossings so far. He quickly needs to recover some good faith with those he will need to work with to deliver these major infrastructure projects.
He’s changed his tune somewhat. Maybe if Gareth Bacon hadn’t been so negative in the past the Mayor may have taken Bexley into consideration when making his plans - or should I say off the cuff remarks?
Gareth Bacon has made it absolutely clear that he doesn’t want a bridge in Bexley. In January 2013 he even spent taxpayers’ money on spreading his propaganda as widely as possible. The following leaflet was posted to every household in the borough. Click image below to see a bigger version.
And in case that wasn’t enough to convince residents that Bexley Council was against the bridge he issued the following three months later.
It looks like for now at least he will get what he campaigned for.
Every now and again a blog risks annoying both Bexley Conservative and Labour parties equally, this could be one of those times. In my opinion Sadiq Khan has already broken far too many of his promises.