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Work and Money
'A truly shocking position'
Matt Cooke, BBC London
As an extension to the DLR is scrapped and a bridge connecting Beckton to Thamesmead is cancelled, what now for transport in the Thames Gateway? Is the area on a road to nowhere?
The proposed Thames Gateway Bridge
On Thursday, Boris Johnson confirmed he would scrap some of the key transport plans, proposed by his predecessor, for East London and the wider Thames Gateway.
There has been a mixed reaction at some of the Mayor's announcements; particularly the cancelling of a road bridge connecting Beckton with Thamesmead.
In addition to the bridge, an extension to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in Barking has been canned, as have proposals for a Tram connecting Crystal Palace with the rest of South East London.
Thames Gateway Bridge
The road bridge was billed as a key element in the development of the Thames Gateway, so the decision to cancel the crossing has proved controversial.
'A truly shocking position for a Mayor of London to take' was the reaction from the leader of Greenwich Council.
Cllr Chris Roberts said: "Hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents who would have benefited from greater access to emerging job markets have been let down by this decision."
He continued: “How are we supposed to meet higher housing targets for east London without essential transport infrastructure in place? This announcement is, in effect, a triple whammy for the region and could have repercussions for years to come."
Crossrail due to be open in 2018
Meanwhile in Bexley, the borough where the bridge would have 'touched down', the bridge wasn't so popular.
Cllr Teresa O'Neill who runs Bexley Council welcomed the news and so people had "campaigned so long and so hard to stop the bridge."
She added: "Boris Johnson described the plans for the bridge put forward by his predecessor as "not workable or acceptable" - which was exactly why we opposed them."
"The right investments could create all sorts of exciting new opportunities for our residents and businesses and provide an tremendous stimulus to new investment in the Thames Gateway region."
Proposals for Thames Gateway bridge
In Newham, the Mayor Sir Robin Wales said he was shocked and disappointed by the decision to shelve plans for the Thames Gateway Bridge.
He accused Boris Johnson of favouritism towards one of the boroughs.
He said: "Boris has turned his back on the people of East London and is choosing to consider the interests of the borough of Bexley above the overall economic development of the whole of London.
"The bridge is vitally important for the future creation of jobs and opportunities in London and therefore I call on Boris to reconsider and do what is right for London."
However, there are still concerns for the lack of a decent public transport system for the further reaches of East London.
The council is calling for an extension of Crossrail through Bexley from Abbey Wood to Ebsfleet in Dartford.
They also want the DLR to connect Thamesmead North and a high speed rail link connecting Greenwich with North Kent.
David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, also welcomed the decision.
He said: "This decision represents a victory for all the local residents who worked so vigorously to oppose Labour’s proposed Bridge."
Adding: "Like many others, I spoke against the proposed Bridge at the Public Inquiry, as it would have been a disaster for our local environment”.
DLR extension scrapped
Barking & Dagenham council bosses are now asking local MPs Margaret Hodge and Jon Cruddas to take their case to parliament, and push for the DLR extension to Dagenham Dock to be reinstated.
The council's chief executive Rob Whiteman says losing the extension is a disaster for the area: "By scrapping the DLR scheme the knock-on effect to our plans to build new homes for local people and Londoners is enormous."
"The link between new homes and new transport sadly appears to have been completely missed by the new team in City Hall."
"It is a bitter blow for the development of the borough and means that many regeneration projects will also fall by the wayside as a result."
DLR train at West India Quay
It's a view echoed by council leader Cllr Charles Fairbrass: “Our Barking Riverside development of 11,000 new homes, the single largest housing development in London, will not happen without DLR.”
But Mayor Boris Johnson said he had no choice but to scrap the plans: "These projects still required a total of over £3bn in funding from the Government or other sources."
"At a time when Londoners are struggling it is our duty to get maximum bang for their buck and invest in fully funded schemes that we know can be delivered."
YOUR VIEWS ON THE TRANSPORT DECISIONS:
I am concerned with the public transport in South East London. It needs to be improved and developed in such a way to help people to travel within Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich. Would the Orbital Bus Network help ? Can we have more details. Would it soon get stuck, particularly near the Thames, or through town centres ? Or would it be better to extend the DLR to Thamesmead, Bexley and Bromley? Would someone with clear vision of London transport answer it urgently and realistically.
- Michael D
last updated: 11/11/2008 at 16:12