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£32m Diamond Jubilee Bridge still faces funding battle

By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter

A new £32m bridge over the River Thames in South West London still faces a huge funding battle after it was green-lit almost a decade ago.

Once known as the Diamond Jubilee Bridge, foundations for the crossing were laid in Battersea in 2016 but the project needs cash to go ahead – which has since stalled.

Wandsworth council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it isn’t “actively working” on anything in relation to the 170-metre-long pedestrian and cycle crossing, next to Cremorne Bridge, in the current economic climate. But the authority said it remains supportive and will continue to explore practical ways on how it could be progressed.

CGI of Cremorne Bridge (Picture: One World Design Architects)

The council granted planning permission for the bridge from One World Design Architects, connecting Battersea to Fulham, in 2013.

It also has planning consent from Hammersmith and Fulham council and the Greater London Authority – and some of its funding has been secured.

But finding the rest of the funding has been challenging, despite public support. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in July 2019 the bridge would be a “useful addition to the local area” but that he was focussed on improving connectivity in East London.

Wandsworth council said it is working with Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils on winning funding through various streams for riverside activities in the boroughs. But it hasn’t reached a joint agreement to lobby for funding for the bridge project specifically.

A Wandsworth council spokesperson said: “We have always been supportive of this potential new river crossing (also known as the Diamond Jubilee Bridge) as it would bring benefits on both sides of the river.

“Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea are coordinating efforts on the respective riverside activities through funding packages, which includes the Cremorne Bridge.

“However reports that we have reached a joint agreement with other councils to lobby for funding specifically for this project are inaccurate. In the current economic climate there is nothing we are actively working on in relation to the aspirations for a [pedestrian] bridge [adjacent to the Cremorne Bridge] but we will continue to explore practical ways on how this could be progressed in the future.”

With funding, the bridge could be built in 18 months.

Chris Medland, director of One World Design, said: “It’s great that the project is still alive and we are thankful to Wandsworth council for all their hard work.

“The design team believe that the bridge will have a hugely positive effect on the people and businesses both sides of the river and we hope that it can be delivered for the good of all within a reasonable timeframe, somewhat sooner than the 15-year plan.” 

Pictured top: CGI of Cremorne Bridge (Picture: One World Design Architects)

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