Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge proposal
We have welcomed comments from Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, confirming that the Mayor of London has no plans to help fund the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico pedestrian bridge.The Deputy Mayor also reiterated Westminster Labour’s insistence that the bridge should only go ahead if it has support from residents on both sides of the river.
In a letter to London Assembly Members about the proposals for the bridge, Heidi Alexander writes:
“There is no provision in TfL’s business plan for expenditure on this project – nor do I anticipate that there will be going forward. Our focus is on new river crossings in the east of the city, including between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, where the river is a significant barrier to those walking and cycling. West London is relatively well served by existing river crossings in comparison. In the proposed location of the Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge, Cycle Superhighway 8 runs across Chelsea Bridge to the west and Cycle Superhighway 5 provides a protected route across Vauxhall Bridge to the east.”
Dolphin Square – update
Residents tell us:
“Westminster’s planning department has now disclosed an offer made by Westbrook to provide 57 “affordable” homes within their proposed development of Dolphin Square.
On closer inspection, only 40% of the flats will be truly affordable and available to tenants nominated by the council. According to the planners, there will be 16 two-bed and three bed flats for “social” housing and a further seven one-bed flats. The remaining 34 flats will all be one-beds and will be “intermediate” flats available for joint tenants with an income of more than £65,000 a year. All of the flats will be owned and managed by Westbrook.
Westminster city council has been promoting “intermediate” housing as any housing which is rented out at 20% below the current market rent. Since Westminster rents are among the highest in the country, with one-bed flats typically renting at more than £400 a week, there will be no truly affordable housing within the “intermediate” offer.
Westbrook claims that their existing housing offer within Dolphin Square is already “intermediate” mainly because rents are kept lower than other parts of the city by the large offer of private flats within Pimlico due to the proximity of Dolphin Square and the huge Churchill Gardens estate, the freehold of which is still owned by the council, but of which more than 50% of former council homes are privately owned. It is this rent differential which has caused the explosion in short-term letting in the area.
The provision of 57 “affordable” homes at Dolphin Square will not compensate for the damage that the proposed development will do to the local community and the inevitable steep rise in short-term letting caused by the massive expansion of the existing Dolphin House hotel if consent is given. It cannot justify the loss of long-term housing which should be maintained within Dolphin Square’s current 1,250 flats.”
Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge proposal – what you say
“Like you, we oppose plans for the bridge. We believe that the bridge is not in the best interests of Nine Elms residents and also not in the best interests of Pimlico residents, as the area will be used more as a thoroughfare by those passing through from the bridge. Further, at a time when local authority funding is still under austerity measures, we do not believe that this is the most pressing matter that requires a significant disbursement of public funds. A ‘vanity project’ bridge that serves little material purpose, and has little public clarity around its business case, is not something that we welcome.”