In April 2019, Labour-controlled Hammersmith & Fulham Council suddenly closed Hammersmith Bridge to carry out urgently needed works to the bridge structure. Despite now having re-opened it for pedestrians only, the Borough’s most iconic symbol and Grade II* listed building remains closed to the20,000 vehicles a day which previously used the only road crossing along five miles of river.
Hammersmith Bridge, which took three years to build, was opened by the Prince of Wales in October 1887. But over 130 years later, and after nearly four years of wrangling, the Council and Labour-controlled TfL have already now taken more time to mend it than it took to build. This is despite the government announcement in March 2022 of a multimillion-pound funding package, confirming it will fund one third of the costs of stabilising the structure. Labour councillors, who ironically featured the bridge on the front of their 2018 local election manifesto, still have no concrete plans at all to re-open it fully to traffic.
Fulham MP Greg Hands, local councillors and Hammersmith Conservatives slammed the dither and delay which has caused untold misery to local people and thrown thousands of lorries and cars a day onto the borough’s residential streets. Hammersmith Association Chair, Mark Loveday said: “It’s already taken longer to repair the bridge than to build it. Let’s cut out the delay and the waffle. Just re-open the bridge!”