Councils Row over Putney Bridge Closure

H &F and Wandsworth want different options for repairs

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Hammersmith and Fulham Council is arguing with neighbouring Wandsworth Council over the proposed closure of Putney Bridge.

In September, Wandsworth Council decided to put out to tender a contract to upgrade the bridge, which was built in 1886 from a design by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, after being presented with a report showing that both the surface of the bridge and underneath needed repair work.

The work which is likely to take place in 2015 includes a complete resurfacing of the road over the Grade II listed bridge, and Wandsworth Council also launched a consultation over two options for the closure: totally closing the bridge, or alternatively, a longer project with only a partial closure.

Full closure of the bridge would last an estimated six months whereas partial closure would mean disruption for 11 months.

The bridge will remain open to pedestrians whichever option is chosen.

Wandsworth Council's transport spokesman, Cllr Russell King, says: " Unfortunately there is no way around this problem. The repairs will need to be carried out at some stage. Our main focus will be to ensure that they can be completed as quickly as possible and cause the least amount of disruption.

" We think that keeping the disruption down to the shortest time possible will be preferable to local businesses and the travelling public. That is why we are inclined towards a six month timetable rather than one that would take almost twice as long. The consultation will allow us to assess whether this is the case."

However, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council says that closing the bridge entirely would be "a disaster".

He says: “We have been working hard over the past few years doing all we can to improve transport in H&F and cut congestion on our roads through our Get H&F Moving campaign. The main routes into and out of our borough are incredibly busy with huge volumes of traffic, notably the road connecting Fulham with Putney and if the bridge were to shut completely for six months that would be a disaster.

" It would cause a terrible knock-on effect for the rest of the entire borough, both on our roads and on our already jammed tube trains.

" While we understand this work must be done we want to see it happen over 11 months, which would cause less disruption for our borough, residents and people who work in H&F."

H & F Council says that the six month plan would cost £1.5 million while the alternative 11 month repair plan, allowing a single lane of traffic to still cross the bridge would cost Wandsworth’s taxpayers an additional £350,000.

And it says that, while Wandsworth Council is asking its own residents, businesses and local organisations what they think about the proposals, it is also taking on board the views of people living and working in neighbouring boroughs.

Residents and businesses who want to express a view on the proposed arrangements should email  or write to Operational Services, Frogmore House, Dormay Street, London SW18 1HA and mark the letter Putney Bridge consultation.

December 6, 2013