Bexley council’s propaganda machine has been working overtime this morning. This is what their publicity man John Ferry was told to say…
At its meeting last night (4 March), Bexley's Cabinet approved the Council's formal response to the Mayor of London's latest consultation on new river crossings in east London.
In its response the Council makes clear its support in principle for the proposed new tunnel at Silvertown, but warns against a return to a fixed link option at Thamesmead, pressing instead for other, more suitable, crossing locations to be considered.
Bexley launched a campaign in January to make local people aware of the Mayor's consultation and the dangers of letting a bridge proposal re-emerge. A Council leaflet distributed to homes in the affected areas set out the case against a bridge or tunnel in Thamesmead, which included increased traffic passing along Bexley's residential roads.
In its formal response to the consultation, the Council also reminds Transport for London and the Mayor of the findings of an independent government inspector appointed to consider the previous proposal for a bridge link. As well as raising concerns about the adequacy of the traffic modelling, the inspector cast doubt on the ability of local roads to accommodate traffic and highlighted potentially negative regeneration and environmental impacts - including poor air quality.
Cllr Gareth Bacon, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Public Realm said: "Our message to Transport for London and those who are pushing for a fixed link at Thamesmead is clear. Bexley will not stand by and let the bridge back in with all the congestion that would entail in our borough. It has been proven to be a fundamentally flawed idea and would be disastrous for local people. There are other locations which would be clearly much better suited, such as Woolwich."
Cllr Bacon went on to say: "We are committed to ensuring the Mayor makes the right decision for Bexley."
I have no recollection whatsoever of councillor Bacon saying anything like that last sentence but it is the sort of gloss the publicity man would make up. For an alternative approach by Greenwich council read the comment on the 853blog.