The government has called for further investigation into plans for a new bridge across the Thames between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.

The National Infrastructure Plan – published by the Treasury on Tuesday – contains this sentence:

An interesting proposal made by Sustrans, and worth looking at in more detail, would be a new pedestrian and cycle bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf – which could be called the Brunel Bridge in tribute to one of the great figures in the history of UK infrastructure.

Southwark Council recently gave its in-principle backing to the proposed bridge, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also expressed interest in the scheme.

Simon Hughes MP said: “It is clear to me that a river crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is long overdue.

“This is a project which I have championed, and which will make a real difference to the lives of a great many local people.

“The government has now made a commitment to take an interest in the proposal for a new cycle and pedestrian bridge, named the Brunel Bridge in tribute to the great father and son pioneers of UK infrastructure.

“This is great progress – and I will keep fighting to deliver the Brunel Bridge for the people of Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and the rest of London.”

Just over three years since the theft of the statue of Dr Alfred Salter from Bermondsey Wall East, the whole family –  including a new statue of Ada Salter – is now returned to the riverside.

The new statues have been created by the original artist Diane Gorvin.

Sunday afternoon’s unveiling ceremony featured speeches by Southwark’s deputy mayor Cllr Neil Coyle, council leader Cllr Peter John and Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP.

According to the council leader, the new Ada Salter statue is the first statue of a female politician to be erected in London.

In his speech, Simon Hughes MP called for  Southwark Council to name a new school in the borough after Ada Salter to complement the existing Alfred Salter Primary School.

Johanna Crawshaw, Dr Salter’s grandniece, unveiled the replacement statue of the legendary Bermondsey MP.

Ada Salter’s statue was unveiled by Nick Hudson and Janet Kendall, grandnephew and grandniece of Bermondsey’s first woman Mayor.

Dr Ruth Wallis, director of public health for Lambeth and Southwark, removed the cover from the statue of young Joyce Salter which has been in storage since the theft of her father’s statue three years ago.

Maisie Carter and her grandson Archie unveiled the sculpture of the Salter family cat which has been returned to its place on the river wall.

Other guests at the event included peace campaigner Bruce Kent and the deputy lieutenant for Southwark, Jenny Bianco.

An exhibition of photographs of the Salters was displayed after the ceremony in the nearby church of St Peter & the Guardian Angels.

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said today: “I can now confirm we have issued the High Court with an application for a Judicial Review into the Secretaries of State’s decision to approve plans for the super sewer in their current form, because of the devastating impact the work will have on the lives of the thousands of people who live, work and go to school around the proposed Chamber’s Wharf tunnel drive site.

“Our position was supported by the findings of the five individual planning inspectors who, after six months of hearing from experts and residents alike, concluded that using Chambers Wharf as a drive site would have very significant impacts on the lives of residents and that Abbey Mills would be a more appropriate site with far less impact. This point was ignored by the Secretaries of State who did not even consider the alternatives put forward and simply felt the need for the project outweighed our concerns about the way Chambers Wharf was being used.

“We have discussed this with legal counsel and believe we have a strong case, but we are under no illusions, we are very much David taking on Goliath. However, unlike the Secretaries of State, we can not simply ignore the devastating impact this work will have on the people living, working and going to school around Chambers Wharf and we are prepared to take this to court in order to get the best possible outcome for them.”

Barney Holbeche, chair of the Save Your Riverside residents’ campaign group, said: “It is very surprising and disappointing that ministers chose to ignore advice from the planning inspectorate and therefore go against the national policy statement on waste water which states that the tunnel should only be given consent if significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from noise have been avoided. The credibility of the planning process is in doubt because of this decision on the tunnel and we therefore welcome the decision of Southwark Council to question the legalities of it.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson says he ‘might well’ consider supporting the construction of a bridge across the Thames for pedestrians and cyclists linking Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf.

At Mayor’s Question Time on Wednesday, Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon revealed that transport charity Sustrans is to launch a competition for designs for a new bridge.

Ms Pidgeon said that a new bridge could help relieve overcrowding on the Jubilee line.

The Mayor replied: “Please tell [Sustrans] to come in as soon as possible and we’ll have a look at it … I do agree there should be a crossing in that area. Let’s see what they’re proposing.”

Tbe Mayor joked that a catapult across the Thames could be one option.

At last month’s council assembly meeting Riverside ward councillor Eliza Mann tabled the following question:

Is the leader aware of concerns about potential asbestos exposure from the Thames Tunnel site at Chambers Wharf, which is due to rubble from a demolished cold storage building remaining on-site for more than a year? Will he order Thames Water to clean up the site immediately?

Southwark Council leader Cllr Peter John replied:

We are aware of this situation and have been in discussion with Thames Water, to mitigate any risks in relation to this issue. As a result, Thames Water has reduced the risk to health through the clearing of the loose asbestos debris on the site and by the covering of the stockpile on site to prevent ‘wind whip’ of any dust and fibres from it and the site is not causing any statutory nuisance.

Control of asbestos on construction sites is enforced by the Health & Safety Executive, not the council. We are in dialogue with the Health and Safety Executive in terms of any enforcement action that they are undertaking, in relation to Chambers Wharf.

It is disappointing that Riverside Ward councillors have not raised this with officers given their concerns about the situation.

 

IF

From the website of the Salter Statues Campaign to restore the Alfred Salter statue on the Thames Path and add a representation of Ada Salter to the scene:

In June we were thrilled to receive a cheque for £5,000 from TelecityGroup, the leading telecommunications company. The donation was prompted by their Chief Executive Officer, Michael Tobin OBE, one of Britain’s top entrepreneurs.

Michael has 25 years experience in technology and telecommunications and was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list for his services to the Digital Economy. What connects such a high-flying businessman to the Salters? Michael wrote to us explaining:

“There are a number of reasons why this is important both to me personally and to TelecityGroup. Firstly Telecity is committed to supporting the welfare and education of children around the world. Ada and Alfred Salter were the epitome of this cause, working with extremely under-privileged children in some of London’s poorest areas. Secondly, TelecityGroup is one of the world’s largest data centre companies and its headquarters in the east of London makes it ideally suited to contribute to the upbringing and welfare of that part of the city. Personally I was born in Bermondsey growing up in a challenging environment between Long Lane and Rotherhithe, so the area is of particular interest to me.”

Michael Tobin recently moved to Rotherhithe and last year joined Theo Paphitis and Simon Hughes MP for the launch of a local Liberal Democrat campaign to improve Southwark’s high streets.

Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, has outlined his vision for a new pier in Rotherhithe to support local growth and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower.

Simon and local Liberal Democrats have met with representatives of Transport for London to argue the case for a new river pier and commuter service in  Rotherhithe to be included in TfL’s River Action Plan.

The pier has the backing of Liberal Democrat councillors and Robert Hulse, director of the  Brunel Museum.

“I believe it is vital we encourage development right along the river – from central locations such as Westminster to areas further east such as Rotherhithe in my own constituency,” said Simon Hughes.

“In 2020 it will be 400 years since the Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe for Plymouth and on to New England. We should mark and celebrate this occasion with the construction of a new pier in Rotherhithe, which would connect Rotherhithe’s past with its future, by supporting local growth and tourism.

“The proposal has support from Liberal Democrat councillors, local employers and residents, and the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. I am now calling on the Mayor and Transport for London to develop detailed plans for this new pier. I am sure it can be a great success.”