Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Sent ahead of Tony Arbour questioning Mayor Sadiq Khan on tomorrow’s Mayor’s Questions Time. Tony is the Greater London Assembly representative for SW London.
I write to you in advance of the questions you will be putting to the Mayor on Hammersmith Bridge tomorrow during Mayor’s Question Time. I know you have received a huge number of e-mails on this issue from people affected by the closure of the Bridge so apologies in advance for adding to the pile. However, I think it’s important you hear from a diverse cross section of people who are directly and adversely impacted by the closure.
I have lived in North Barnes (literally at the foot of Bridge) for more than 15 years. I chose to live here because having grown up in Hammersmith and schooled in Chiswick, it allowed me to be close to family, friends and work. My mother lives in Hammersmith and I now have a son who is 8 years old who schools in Hammersmith. Our morning commute to school used to entail a 15 minute walk. My plan once he returned to school was to walk him to school and then take the tube to work in Piccadilly Circus (one tube journey which takes no more than 15 minutes). We are unable to walk now. I have to drive him to school which means he has to wake up 45 minutes earlier than he would have to ordinarily and we sit in gridlocked traffic. He is often late for school because the roads are so unpredictable. We’ve had to have sad conversations about either changing schools or moving house; the latter would be very difficult at the moment. Once I drop him to school, I have to drive back home to leave my car at home and then take a bus to Barnes Bridge station to take the train to Waterloo and then take the tube to Piccadilly Circus. By the time I’m at my desk, I’ve spent 2.5 hours “on the road” and I’m wiped out.
In addition, I’ve lost my after school carer for my son because she cannot get him back home because of the Bridge closure. I now have to collect my son from school and I have a full time busy job. I’ve focussed on the practical difficulties the Bridge closure has caused but there has been a mental toll too. I, like many others, am anxious, stressed, exhausted and very saddened by this situation. I feel isolated and depressed being cut off from the north side of the river, yet I am thankful that I am able bodied and can drive; I can’t imagine how those less fortunate than me must feel.
To compound matters, my father’s son lives in Hammersmith. He used to see his father 3 or 4 times a week which is now not possible because there is an impassable gulf of water separating them. I can’t tell you just how much this saddens us. It really is a living nightmare. I know that you “get it” but we feel so let down. My concern (and one felt by others) is that neither TFL, nor LBHF nor the Government seems to appreciate the urgency of this situation or if they do, they don’t care. I know the government has made some positive musings but we are yet to see any real action, Tony.
It is great to know we have your support and that you will apply some pressure and press for a call to action on our behalf.