Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf cycling and pedestrian bridge

MQT on 2017-08-10
Session date: 
August 10, 2017
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What progress has been made towards fulfilling your pledge to build a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf?


Answer for Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf cycling and pedestrian bridge

Answer for Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf cycling and pedestrian bridge

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for your question.  The Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf crossing will provide a much-needed new walking/cycling connection between the two key opportunity areas of the Isle of Dogs and Canada Water.  The new crossing is in my draft Transport Strategy and the TfL Business Plan.


TfL has established a project team to take forward the crossing and over the past year has progressed at pace on developing options, surveys, demand modelling, procurement, business case development, funding, planning consents, land requirements and engagement with stakeholders.  TfL has appointed Arcadis, a renowned engineering and design consultancy with international experience in delivering pedestrian and cycling crossings, to develop designs and ensure that the scheme is cost-effective.  For example, how high should it be or what type of bridge should it be?


During June and July 2017 TfL held a series of workshops with the local communities and user groups in Southwark and Tower Hamlets to listen to their views on what the crossing should look like and where it should land on each side of the river.  TfL anticipates that a public procurement process for a design-and-build partner will start in the autumn.  This procurement will make sure the recommendations and lessons from previous procurements and Dame Margaret Hodges’s report into the Garden Bridge are followed.  I am hoping that consultation on the preferred option takes place in early 2018 before detailed plans are drawn up to allow an application for the necessary consents to be made in due course.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Lovely.  Thank you very much.  As you know, I have been a strong supporter of this cycling and pedestrian bridge over a part of the Thames that is really difficult to cross by bike or foot.


I just wanted to get a bit more clarity today from you about the schedule and the funding for this vital project.  When will the funding strategy for the scheme be published?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  In TfL’s Business Plan there is already funding to support the new crossing work.  We are also keen, though, to consider options from third-party contributions.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I accept that there are going to be some issues to be resolved, but can you clarify?  You would expect landowners such as Canary Wharf Group on one side and British Land on the other to contribute towards this new crossing?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Let us not get into who is going to contribute what, but we want third parties to contribute towards this, yes.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Landowners generally, you would hope, would contribute towards this sort of infrastructure?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I would hope so.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Yes, that is great.  When do you think the bridge will finally be built and open to the public?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  One of the things that I am hoping those who will bid for the contract to design and build the bridge will have noted is my comment that I want it done as soon as possible.  You will be aware from previous conversations we had about 2020/21 being what we want to do and that is the sort of timescale we are talking about.  Obviously, if somebody bids for this design-and-build procurement process and is able to do it sooner, then it could well be that their application will be considered more favourably than somebody who would take longer.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You are still looking at 2020/21?  That is great news because I know people in this area desperately want this crossing to be built.


You said that in the autumn you are going to be starting the procurement.  Have you looked at all options?  There is one thing; you can have the open design type of competition, as we know from the infamous Garden Bridge, but a possible quicker way could be TfL buying and adapting an existing design.  That potentially could be cheaper and quicker to deliver.  Have you looked at all the options before you go ahead with procurement in the autumn?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  TfL has.  One of the things that TfL has recognised is that things move very quickly.  There is, for example, a previous design out there, which is a number of years old now and so one of the reasons why they are keen to have the procurement process is because there may be innovations around the world that could lead to something cheaper, quicker and of higher quality.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You are quite right.  We have to make sure we do not make the mistakes the previous Mayor made on designing and giving contracts for bridges and so on.


My final question relates to how we can make the most of this bridge.  I am really pleased to see that the cycle hire scheme is going to be extended to Brixton this year.  However, it would really make sense if the cycle hire scheme is also extended out to Rotherhithe.  All the benefits, really, of the bridge would be magnified if the cycle hire scheme was in that area.


Are you looking at this actively and will you ensure that TfL pushes Southwark Council to do something that many other boroughs have done: putting money in and supporting cycle hire extension?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  TfL is, as you know, continuing to explore suitable funding options, which include the Rotherhithe Peninsula urban development work taking place and the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf bridge programme.  We are speaking to councils and both sides of the river too and we are keen to make progress around further extensions of the cycle hire scheme.  As you said, Brixton is a great result and we are trying to make sure we can have more cycle hire schemes across London.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I accept that you cannot roll out cycle hire to the whole of London, but this is a really obvious gap.  It would almost finish the circle of inner London.  If you are going to have this fantastic crossing, it would make sense for cycle hire.  Is that something you are committed to try to achieve?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  TfL is currently exploring as we speak funding options to extend the Santander cycle scheme and I have mentioned two of the potential funding streams.  We are keen to extend it to suitable places, particularly where there is funding available.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Does that include Rotherhithe and picking up this Rotherhithe-Bermondsey anomaly where there is no cycle hire?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That includes that part of London as well, yes.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I welcome that and I really hope you can push Southwark Council as well to look at where it can put funding in, as many other boroughs in London have, to secure the cycle hire scheme.  Thank you very much.