At September's full council meeting Richmond's Conservative Councillors made a formal motion for Richmond Council to use excess funds from the troubled Twickenham Riverside project to help progress a temporary crossing whilst Hammersmith Bridge remains closed. Richmond Council has now agreed that they will contribute up to £375,000, to ensure the emergency ferry service linking Barnes to Hammersmith can be delivered as quickly as possible.
Cllr Aphra Brandreth, Conservative Councillor for Barnes Ward, said, "I'm pleased Richmond Council has finally acknowledged, for the first time since 2018, that it needs to get actively involved in order to move the works on Hammersmith Bridge forward.
"We formally proposed in September that the Council makes a contribution to the temporary crossing. I am glad we have finally been able to get them to do so. This is a start. They now desperately need to help make a temporary bridge happen.
"It is hugely concerning that Hammersmith and Fulham Council have not yet committed any funding to either a ferry service, a temporary solution or to the main repairs, we urge them to play their part in moving this project forwards."
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of the Conservative Group on Richmond Council, said, "We now need to get the Council to actively progress the main repair works for Hammersmith Bridge and we urge Hammersmith and Fulham Council to make a contribution. Richmond's Lib Dems have been more concerned about their cosy friendship with Hammersmith & Fulham Council's administration and have never called on them to move the works forward, nor make their required contribution. Hammersmith & Fulham Council own the bridge and have received money for it over the years. It is clear the delay on the bridge repairs goes back at least four years. It was not caused by Covid.
"The Government has made a commitment to provide the vast bulk of the funds to repair the bridge. But Hammersmith & Fulham control the bridge and must take forwards the plan, and given their ownership and funds received from TfL and the Government over the years, they rightly need to contribute. It's time our Council stood up for our residents and held Hammersmith & Fulham Council to account.
"The only logical reason that Richmond Council won't stand up for residents, is politics. They only want to criticise Conservatives. That's not good enough. Richmond residents just want their Council to get the bridge sorted."