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£500m bridge axe celebrated

PUBLISHED: 15:28 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 25 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS have celebrated the announcement that the Thames Gateway Bridge will be scrapped under a cost cutting agenda.

CAMPAIGNERS have celebrated the announcement that the Thames Gateway Bridge will be scrapped under a cost cutting agenda.

Mayor Boris Johnson axed the £500 million project that would have linked Thamesmead to Newham in a surprise 10 -year transport plan, last Thursday.

The bridge was predicted to stimulate jobs in East and south-east London, but was opposed by environmentalists since Greenwich and Newham councils approved it in 2004.

Jacqui Wise, 46, of Berkeley Avenue, Bexleyheath, had led a campaign against the bridge for the last four years.

The mother-of-three said: "We're all relieved and I think it has taught us that you can beat these huge organisations so it's worth standing up for your area."

But Greenwich and Bexley councillors have always been polarised in their opinions on the scheme.

Bexley council bosses, who complained bitterly at not being consulted on the bridge in 2004, welcomed Mr Johnson's move whilst Greenwich council labelled it 'shocking'.

Chris Roberts, leader of Greenwich council, said: "Hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents who would have benefited from greater access to emerging job markets have been let down by this decision.

"For south-east London, with virtually no tube network, the cancellation leaves the area again bereft of an adequate transport network."

But Teresa O'Neill, leader of Bexley council, instead thanked Mr Johnson for "listening".

Mr Johnson's cuts should save £3.72 billion, but at the cost of scrapping projects including the Cross River Tram, Greenwich Waterfront Transit and the East London Transit.

Transport for London (TfL) will instead expand the capacity of existing transport, reintroduce the Routemaster bus, and bring the Oyster Card to all rail stations.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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