James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Nick Ferrari Demands Answers From Hammersmith Council Leader On Bridge Closure
12 April 2019, 09:12 | Updated: 12 April 2019, 09:32
The Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham was forced to fend off Nick Ferrari's staunch criticism over the council's failure to provide an answer on when Hammersmith bridge will re-open.
Hammersmith Bridge is still closed to motorists indefinitely after safety checks revealed "critical faults".
Hammersmith and Fulham Council said it was left with "no choice" but to shut the bridge until refurbishment costs could be met.
Government "budget cuts" have left Transport for London (TfL) unable to repair the 132-year-old bridge, the council said.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari on Friday, Stephen Cowan, the Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, revealed that the council had more than four years to prepare for the closure.
He shirked responsibility however for footing the bill for bridge repairs stating that it was "part of TfL's strategic network" and pointed out that TfL had seen budget cuts.
"Let me abridge you of [TfL's gross budget], if you want to use that metaphor, it's 9.8 billion pounds Councillor", Nick said.
"Instead of playing politics with each other, why don't you just get the relevant people round a desk, bang the desk a few times, you divvy up 30%, the government divvy up 30%, or whatever it takes to put the bridge right".
The Councillor however still refused to give an answer on when the bridge will be fixed, expressing that "it's just not as simple as that".
"The people who pay [council tax] have got a major artery now denied to them...and when they hear the Leader of their Council asked when it's going to be prepared, and they hear 'we don't know, we haven't got the money'."
Stephen Cowan, who is also the Labour councillor for Hammersmith Broadway, maintained that the council have "done what [they] were responsible for, which is monitoring the bridge, and arguing what needs to happen".
"What we now need is the money - and that's down to central government to provide that", he said.