Designs for a new £40m bridge across the Thames will be on view later this month, but there are already concerns that it could stir up another ‘garden bridge controversy’.
Teams of architects and engineers will exhibit plans to local communities as they battle it out to design the pedestrian bridge from Nine Elms to Pimlico.
Due to EU laws the competitors will have their designs shown anonymously before a panel recommends a shortlist of up to four teams to go through to the next stage.
“We have had an exceptional response to the competition and the excitement is building as we get closer to the big reveal,” said Ravi Govindia, Wandsworth Council leader.
“We have set the bar very high indeed and posed some extremely complex engineering and architectural challenges.
“There are up to 80 highly skilled design teams working on this brief and it will be fascinating to see their ideas.”
However it is feared that the design for the bridge could be just as controversial as the Garden Bridge, which was conceived by Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley and approved last year.
The London Garden Bridge has been criticised for its proposed £159m cost, location and use restrictions, with many feeling it is will be a tourist trap rather than an asset to residents.
A legal challenge against the bridge has now been launched by a south London resident, who claims Lambeth Council unlawfully granted planning permission for it.
Pimlico residents are concerned that the new bridge from Nine Elms will have the same issues as the Garden Bridge.
“Pimlico isn’t geared up to dealing with possibly thousands of pedestrians coming over the bridge,” said Westminster councillor, Nick Evans.
“Depending on where exactly the bridge lands, there is likely to be a loss of green space, particularly if Pimlico Garden is chosen as the north end.
“There is also the issue of cost, not just for construction but ongoing maintenance, and because of this I am not a supporter for the bridge.”
The new pedestrian bridge between Nine Elms and Pimlico could however create 271 new jobs for Londoners and will greatly improve transport links in the area.
Once a winning design is revealed in the summer, the exact destination of the bridge will be announced, before it goes through a planning process.
Already £26m has been committed to the project through the development of Nine Elms but several funding options are being explored by the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership.
This could even include sponsorship making the bridge the second sponsored route across the Thames after the Emirates Air Line.
Designs for the new bridge will be on display at Westminster Boating Base on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 February and Ascalon Street ROSE Centre on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 February.
Picture courtesy of Joe Dunckley, with thanks