Updated: Feb 15
To celebrate St Valentine’s Day 2021 and 6 months this weekend of Hammersmith Bridge’s full closure to pedestrians, we turned #HammersmithBridge into the UK’s biggest Valentine’s Day Card. The card is addressed to Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan, Grant Shapps and Stephen Cowan (leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council: the owners of the bridge) with love from the residents of SW London. It bears the message: "Broken Hearts, Broken Promises, Broken Lives, Broken Bridge".
Since the bridge’s closure to vehicular traffic in 2019 - almost two years ago - the local authorities and central Government have consistently argued over who should pay to repair the bridge, shifting blame and responsibility between the various political parties and stakeholders. To the fury and astonishment of SW Londoners, they still have no confirmed funds nor agreed action plan to repair the bridge.
Children are enduring very long commutes to get to school in the dark on unsuitable flooded footpaths. Elderly people and workers are suffering much longer journeys to go about their daily business. When lockdown ends, the severe traffic congestion and pollution issues around Putney, Chiswick and Kew Bridges will return as a result of the loss of this major London artery.
In a recent survey we conducted in association with the BCA, 88% of responders in the local area said the bridge closure was having a significant negative effect on their mental health. The bridge closure has also had a serious impact on local businesses; many already pushed to breaking point by the pandemic.
It is a great shame that we need to raise further attention to the complete inability of politicians from all parties to find a satisfactory solution, to proceed with the funding and works to repair Hammersmith Bridge. Also, to deliver the urgently needed temporary pedestrian crossing.
Our Valentine’s card is intended to be a fun and entertaining way to draw attention to what remains a serious issue. The Bridge closure is a real problem for people, businesses and local lives in general. We very much hope our message will get through to the politicians concerned: SW London is fed up and angry with waiting for progress and results to no avail.
The Government Task Force has completely failed to resolve this on our behalf. We have become an international laughing stock with a number of national media outlets in other major countries reporting their disbelief that such a relatively wealthy and advanced country as Britain can fail so comprehensively to repair a key bridge in their capital. We all know that in many other countries the bridge would have been repaired or replaced many months ago.
A massive thank you to Chris and his team at LCI Productions here in Barnes for providing the amazing lighting and projection mapping display!
LCI UK 55 Merthyr Terrace
London SW13 8DL firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 2087415747