A Public Enquiry has been launched by Westminster City Council to examine the case for The Nine Elms Bridge Project, with open meetings provisionally scheduled from January 2016. The Enquiry will allow you to ask detailed questions of interested parties, including TfL and Wandsworth Council.
The Enquiry was proposed by Councillor Angela Harvey at the recent Westminster City Council meeting at the Porchester Halls where opposition to the Bridge enjoyed cross-party support. FREDA and WCC have consistently judged Wandsworth’s Bridge project to be an expensive folly and we would like to thank all of our Westminster Councillors for their continued support.
Coming Soon! Have Your Say at The Nine Elms Bridge Public Enquiry
This is your opportunity to submit questions, supply witness statements and help draw up terms of reference for the Enquiry. This page will be updated with Enquiry dates, news and developments as they happen and a feedback form is being built so you can send your queries and comments to the Westminster Enquiry team.
We can send you the details when they become available. Get notified by email > Subscribe to 5Fields News & Updates.
Find out more about the background to the Nine Elms Pimlico bridge, previous campaigns and much more, see the Pimlico to Nine Elms Bridge Summary page which also has some lively debate in the comments section. Please feel free to join that conversation or start your own comment thread below.
You can still add your voice to the feedback form we originally published here: Nine Elms Bridge Survey.
Cllr Angela Harvey’s speech in full, with the Leader’s reply below:
My Lord Mayor, fellow councillors, our Pimlico Village is under threat. The Nine Elms Bridge is the biggest threat in decades. Over the years, our Pimlico residents and councillors have worked together to retain, protect and build the wonderful community we have today. Responses to our survey which went out to 10,000 homes shows that 97% of people in Pimlico do NOT want the Nine Elms Bridge.
May I first say an especial welcome to Moy Scott (Pimlico FREDA) and Nick Walker (Dolphin Square tenants) and to my dear former colleague Alan Bradley, who was a Pimlico councillor for 36 years. Together in 2012 Alan and I started our campaign against this bridge, a campaign since taken up by my ward colleagues Peter Cuthbertson and Nick Evans.
In Westminster, we make good friends, and we work well with the Mayor of London and the GLA, and Wandsworth on many projects. But as the best of good friends know you have to tell your friends when they are doing the wrong thing. And Leader, I know you are continuing to tell them just how they are wrong with this bridge.
There has been a sham of consultation, perfidious misrepresentation of Westminster’s position, as well as a gagging of community representatives
Our thanks to the Leader for refusing to sit on bridge competition jury to make sure it received no validation from us. Wandsworth’s final decision as to design of the Bridge is imminent, and I want Council to know what a bridge here would mean:
- The proposal is that every day 18,000 commuters will come to/from Nine Elms Bridge
- Our quiet byways would become commuter highways
- No benefit to Pimlico people
- Loss of riverside open space, and perhaps the Westminster Boating Base
- Pimlico tube usage would be up by two thirds from 2011, bonkers when you consider that there will be new tube stations into Nine Elms and Battersea by 2020.
- Waste of Money – Heather tells me that no-one knows the cost of this bridge, and who will pay for it. We’ve heard talk of anywhere between £43 million and £100 million but this could be a wild underestimate. What we do know is that it would be public money.
- And perhaps even worse – we have been told that the benefit to cyclists using the bridge will be at most 8 seconds!
So, here is my call to action! We in Westminster continue to campaign. As the petition says, please Leader continue to press our case for No Bridge with all the necessary parties.
Please, set up a public enquiry to investigate the true facts about this unwanted scheme. And – as I know he will be faster than Sir John Chilcott – I hope Ian Adams chair of the Built Environment P&S will to do this.
Thank you, Council.
Thank you, Lord Mayor, and thank you Cllr Harvey for what was an absolutely excellent speech, ably setting out the concerns that residents and this Council have to this ill-conceived bridge.
I welcome the petition presented earlier this evening, and can assure Cllr Harvey and those people who signed it that not only will we respond to it, as of course we must, but I will also ensure that Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, also receives a copy so that he can start to see the real strength of feeling on this side of the river towards this bridge.
When I first became Leader of the Council, I took up this idea because I could see what a detrimental effect these proposals were going to have on our side of the river. I went to Wandsworth to meet Cllr Govindia, who for the vast majority of the time I get on with extremely well; we have a lot in common and do a lot of work together in a number of different areas. He sat, listened politely and even, to give him his credit, understood where we are coming from and our residents’ concerns. However, he was utterly determined to press ahead with this bridge as he sees it as vital to the regeneration of his side of the river.
In terms of the costs being mooted, while Cllr Govindia claims that it will be £40m, most people involved in the bridge think that it will be considerably more than that. Frankly, I think that that money could be far better spent on the extension of the northern line and the tube stations that they are planning to open up, rather than on a bridge. Angela has already given the figure of the eight second improvement in journey time for cyclists, and there is also a tube station nearby – Vauxhall on the Victoria line – which workers and those people living in Nine Elms can use if they want to. I simply cannot imagine that the benefit of having a new bridge would in any way merit the sort of money involved or be as substantial as Cllr Govindia thinks.
There has been woeful liaison with residents and this council in terms of how this has been pushed forward. We have been given very much a top line idea of what their ideas are and what they plan to do, but no real right to comment despite the fact that our side of the river is going to be so terribly threatened by this.
The 18,000 new pedestrian and cycle movements would have a very significant impact on what is a quiet residential area. We would lose open public space, and it would have a significant detrimental effect on a conservation area, including in impacting on some very old trees in the area. The highways network would be detrimentally affected, and it would also affect riverside diversity, which is incredibly important, as well as residential amenity.
Specifically, we will lose Pimlico Gardens – the only riverside gardens in London – which would be a tragedy. There is the possible loss of the boating charity and the fantastic work that it does with young people. St George’s Square – a beautiful and quiet Georgian square – is the only proper big open space in Pimlico. All the local children go there; my kids went to the nursery next door and played in the square so I know it well. It will be devastated by people walking through on the way to Pimlico tube.
The tranquil and quiet nature of the whole area will be completely destroyed, particularly during the construction stage, which will cause increased congestion and air pollution.
This is something that we absolutely do not want.
And what do Wandsworth say of us in their defence? They say we are ‘nimbyist’ and anti-growth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at what we have been doing in Westminster to support growth. Look at Victoria Street and the fantastic work that has been going on down there. Look at Regent Street and the wonderful redevelopment that is taking place there. Look at the West End Partnership and everything being done through that group to support sensitive growth. And that is the key word – growth has to be ‘sensitive’, especially across what is a very complex area with a wonderful heritage that needs to be preserved alongside that growth. That is particularly pertinent in Pimlico.
They also say that we are anti-bridges. No, we are not. We have been supportive of the Garden Bridge; we have given planning permission to the bridge on our side because where that would land would enhance, rather than detract from, the local area.
I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce tonight that we will launch a public enquiry and it will be chaired by Cllr Adams, through his role as Chairman of the Environment Policy and Scrutiny Committee.
I can also announce that we will continue to fight long and hard for local residents to continue to retain the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhood.