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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Has Boris sounded the Woolwich Ferry’s death knell?

with 7 comments


Boris Johnson launched his transport manifesto on Monday, and there’s a line in it which went largely unnoticed which could have profound effects in Woolwich.

“I will launch a new car ferry service from Thamesmead to Gallions Reach, to replace the ageing Woolwich ferry.”

That’s the first confirmation that the mayor’s planned ferry – overshadowed by the Silvertown tunnel keffufle – would replace the Woolwich Ferry, whose three vessels were launched nearly 50 years ago. I’ve gone on about the joys of the ferry before, but it’s very hard to imagine Woolwich without a crossing which has existed in various forms for hundreds of years.

I’m also not sure how motorists – particularly the lorry drivers which mainly use the ferry – will take to seeing the link between the North Circular and South Circular broken.

The ferry will be at the site of the scrapped Thames Gateway Bridge, which begs the question – why not just build the bridge?

Boris’s manifesto shows where he’s angling for votes:

“I killed off my predecessor’s proposal for a Thames Gateway Bridge because of the damaging impact it would have had on Bexley, and I will not resuscitate it. Instead, I will continue to call on the Government for residents within Greater London who live close to the Dartford Crossing – notably those living in Bexley and Havering – to be given the same discount on the Dartford toll as residents of Dartford and Thurrock.”

The obvious bribe to zone 6 motorists aside, why would a ferry not have the damaging impact on Bexley borough that a bridge would?

As for the Silvertown crossing:

“I will also seek powers to construct a new Blackwall relief crossing, a road tunnel that will cross from Greenwich Peninsula to Silvertown, near the Royal Docks, and which will be completed within ten years. The government has committed to explore the case for using the Planning Act to streamline planning for proposed additional river crossings in East London.”

In other words, no more pesky inquiries like the one that killed off the Thames Gateway Bridge.

There’s more, including a very vague plan to extend the Docklands Light Railway to Bromley, in the full manifesto.

Speaking of mayoral matters, the Guardian’s Manifesto for a Model Mayor is well worth a read, and features a couple of contributions from me – see if you can spot them.

7 Responses

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  1. Answer to your headline?

    Yes.

    Logic of a ferry rather than a bridge at Thamesmead?

    Nil.

    Chris

    28 March, 2012 at 11:10 am

  2. Wow. That’s pretty crass, even by Boris’ standards.

    He’s happy to use the Planning Act to “streamline planning” but – surprise, surprise – no mention of the Localism Act, which is supposed to give local communities a bigger say in developments in their backyards.

    Franklin

    28 March, 2012 at 1:22 pm

  3. Sorry to be blunt but I think the Conservatives are suffering from a dose of lack of sensible ideas and are in need of a visit to the “funny farm” for some treatment and injection of common sense.

    Doesn’t really make any sense at all, but then again nationally does it make sense to tax pastries and supermarket takeaway food whilst caviar remains untaxed by vat. Does it make sense to scare people in to buying cans of fuel and storing it in their homes in case they run out, invalidating their insurance and posing a fire risk. Not much the coalition or Boris says makes much sense and even Ken is a bit cranky I think we need new blood of politicians – but you never know Ken might well get back in thanks to the Granny Tax if local polls reflect the depty of anti government feeling at the current time.

    Gabriella Hudson

    28 March, 2012 at 8:43 pm

  4. Note Boris wants to put a ferry at Thamesmead. Not a FREE ferry…

    TGP

    29 March, 2012 at 8:18 am

  5. Nobody has ever made a case for replacing the Woolwich Free Ferry. This is a scandal.
    Where is the research?

    Ashleigh Marsh

    30 March, 2012 at 3:50 pm

  6. i love the ferry, dont get rid of our history. The boats are very clean and the staff are amazing for a free service.

    Emma Bishop

    3 April, 2012 at 2:06 pm

  7. Sorry to ever so slightly hijack, but have they reopened the foot tunnel yet? It looked very much closed a few months ago when I was over there…

    The Londoneer

    4 April, 2012 at 12:54 am


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