Labour London Assembly member (and directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets) John Biggs tabled a formal question to Mayor of London Boris Johnson seeking an update on the proposed ‘Brunel Bridge’ for pedestrians and cyclists which could be built to link Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf.

Boris Johnson’s reply was published on Monday evening:

TfL is providing financial and other support to the work being undertaken by Sustrans to develop plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe.

The work suggests that there is a positive case for better crossings in this area. It has found that a bridge would deliver benefits by encouraging walking and cycling trips, and provide an alternative to the busy Jubilee line between Canada Water and Canary Wharf.

There are some significant challenges that a bridge here would need to overcome, including meeting the needs of shipping and connecting into the existing walking and cycling networks on either side. Further work will be required to investigate these issues.

TfL expects to receive the outputs of this work shortly. Next steps will be considered with key stakeholders, including the opportunities that exist for funding, construction and ongoing maintenance.

IF

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said that the recent increase in the return fare on the ferry between Nelson Dock and Canary Wharf from £5.94 to £7.80 – a hike of 31 per cent – is “not unduly high”.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon tabled this question to the Mayor:

Last month I asked about the Oyster pricing of the Hilton Ferry crossing. Your answer did not address the main point of the question – that the introduction of zoning has resulted in the price of a return on the ferry increasing by 31% and now stands at £7.80. Do you agree that this is a very high price for a short ferry crossing?

Boris Johnson replied:

The RB4 river crossing between Doubletree Docklands and Canary Wharf is operated on a commercial basis by MBNA Thames Clippers, on behalf of the Doubletree London Docklands Hotel.

The move to a zone-based fare structure by MBNA Thames Clippers has led to some fares increasing. The fares changes have standardised fares and made all trips compatible with the Oyster readers that are now available for use at all River Bus piers, a significant improvement for customers.

The return crossing between Doubletree Docklands and Canary Wharf has seen the biggest of these increases. The change brings the fare for this crossing into line with other River Bus crossings in the area, such as the short trip from Greenwich Pier to Masthouse Terrace Pier.

The return ticket has been removed for this trip; it was anomalous within the old fare structure and would be even more so under the new standardised zone system. The majority of passengers use this crossing not for a return journey, but for a one-way trip. A single fare has increased by only 12 pence under the new structure. For those passengers that do wish to make this trip regularly in both directions, season tickets are available that will reduce their average daily return fare to as little as £3.00.

Many fares have been reduced under the new system, particularly in the eastern zone, where some single fares have fallen by almost 40 per cent. Within this context, I do not feel that the specific fare increase you mention is unduly high, and I am confident that the overall fare structure changes will provide a net benefit to River Bus passengers.

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A proposal to install a floating swimming pool in Greenland Dock has been turned down by Southwark Council planning officers.

We first reported the scheme back in May.

The proposal was put forward by South Dock-based architect Adrian Priestman.

At a recent overview & scrutiny committee Cllr Mark Williams (cabinet member for regeneration and new homes) revealed that Mr Priestman’s proposal did not have the support of the council administration.

The planning application attracted more than 50 objections and 20 letters in support.

This week officers used delegated powers to refuse the planning application, citing the lack of an ecological impact assessment, adding that “the council are not therefore in the position to fully assess the impact of the proposal on the Site of Importance of Nature Conservation that is Greenland Dock”.

Question to the Mayor from Caroline Pidgeon AM

I am pleased to see that planning for a pedestrian/cycle bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is progressing with support from TfL. Will you include proposals for further development and planning work for the bridge in TfL’s upcoming business plan to ensure that the next Mayor follows through on this important project?

Answer from Boris Johnson

I am very interested in this idea and TfL is in the early stages of a feasibility assessment to look into the project.

The feasibility work, including the preparation of a business case, will be completed by the autumn.

Should the scheme prove viable and have a strong business case, then full consideration will be given to how best to go about implementing the project, including possible funding options.

This first phase of work is being funded through a partnership between TfL, Sustrans and the private sector and I would expect funding for any future stages to follow a similar approach.

IF

MBNA Thames Clippers will introduce a new timetable on the Nelson Dock to Canary Wharf ferry from Monday 6 July.

The new timetable follows the rebranding of the hotel at Nelson Dock.

In future there will no longer be a gap in service in late morning and mid evening.

On weekdays the last crossing will also be slightly later, with final sailings leaving Rotherhithe at 11.55pm and Canary Wharf at midnight.

Transport charity Sustrans is carrying out a detailed feasibility study into its plan to build a bridge for walkers and cyclists across the River Thames between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe.

Transport for London has granted funding of £170,000, supplemented with £30,000 from businesses in the area, for Sustrans to investigate the potential of the new bridge, and the detailed study is due to be completed in August.

Current plans envisage a new 400-metre long bridge spanning the river between Rotherhithe and the Isle of Dogs with an opening section in the middle to allow ships to pass.

Sustains claims the bridge could be open as soon as 2020.

“Sustrans is delighted to have received this funding from TfL and other partners to be able to move forward with the feasibility work on this crossing,” said Malcolm Shepherd, Chief Executive of Sustrans.

“It could enable millions of sustainable cross-river journeys and make it far easier for people to choose a healthier travel option.

“With high-quality links to destinations either side, it will make walking and cycling a real choice for hundreds of thousands of residents, workers and visitors”.

Richard de Cani, TfL’s managing director for planning, said: “As London’s population grows towards 10 million people, we need a number of new river crossings to improve connectivity and reduce congestion on existing road and rail services.

“A new pedestrian and cycle crossing between the Isle of Dogs and Rotherhithe and Canada Water would encourage more people to walk and cycle to Canary Wharf, improving access to amenities and jobs and providing an alternative to the Jubilee line for shorter trips.

“TfL is working with Sustrans and the private sector on developing this proposal by pledging funding towards the first phase of feasibility work.”

Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: “More than a third of London’s expected population growth is expected to happen in East London and we urgently need more crossings – for all types of transport users. So we are delighted to be able to offer this funding to help progress Sustrans’ proposed cycling and walking bridge.”

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon added: “Unlike the Garden Bridge this is a bridge that is desperately needed and where public money should be spent.

“A pedestrian and cycling bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf would help reduce congestion by making it so much easier to get between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf by foot or bike.  It would link two parts of London and help ease overcrowding on the Jubilee Line.

 

“I have long backed cyclists who have been campaigning for this new crossing and it is real credit to them and of course to Simon Hughes that this first step is now being taken in making this bridge a reality.”

London Assembly members Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem) and Val Shawcross (Labour) said today that the £60 million of  public money to be spent on the Garden Bridge between the South Bank and Victoria Embankment would be better spent on the proposed ‘Brunel Bridge’ between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf

Last week London’s deputy mayor for  housing & land Richard Blakeway joined representatives of St James, Southwark Council and Peabody to formally open the doors to the new development of 182 shared ownership and social rented homes at Chambers Wharf.

The homes, to the south of Chambers Street, have been built in advance of the linked private homes between Chambers Street and the river.

The second phase of development will have to wait for the controversial Thames Water ‘super sewer’ to be completed. image009

Spread across seven buildings, ranging from 10 to 14 storeys in height, a total of 587 homes will eventually be built at Chambers Wharf.

Sean Ellis, chairman of developer St James, said: “Chambers Wharf represents a pioneering approach to affordable housing provision in the capital. We wanted to raise the bar and showcase what can be achieved within a short timeframe. It’s tenure blind in a prime location, creating 182 contemporary, affordable homes that residents can be proud of.”

Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “In Southwark we are tackling the housing crisis head on and are doing all we can to build the quality affordable homes our residents so desperately need. This development delivers affordable homes at social rent, while also helping local residents get onto the property ladder with shared ownership homes.”

One of the first residents of Chambers Wharf is Ingrid Thomas. Previously living in a two bedroom apartment, she has moved into a four bedroom townhouse with her three boys and eight-month old daughter: “We now have the space and facilities to function as a proper family. I’m blown away by the high quality and design of the home. The outdoor space is also wonderful and it has already started bringing residents together. The children are also really excited about the play area which is currently being built!

“I couldn’t be happier right now; it’s the new start I’d been waiting for. The fact that my children love their new home makes me even more appreciative of living in this life changing new development.”

 

Stephen Howlett, chief executive of the Peabody Group, added: “Peabody has been at the heart of Southwark for almost 150 years and we want to extend our mission to as many people as possible.

“Chambers Wharf is an example of how strong partnerships can help deliver high-quality affordable homes, jobs, community facilities and amenities both for the residents and the wider community.”