Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Mayoral Candidates Support The Hammersmith Flyunder - But Will It Actually Happen?

Hammersmith Flyover. Photo: Wikipedia
Both of the two main candidates for London's Mayoral Election  (the election is to be held on 5 May 2016are supporters of the proposed Hammersmith Flyunder - the new tunnel which may in time replace the current Hammersmith flyover.

The Flyunder is a hugely ambitious scheme that, if it goes ahead, has the potential to alter permanently the face of Hammersmith. But will it actually ever happen?

The Hammersmith Society have been trying to arrange a debate in our Borough between Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and Labour candidate Sadiq Khan, but neither candidates have been willing - or able - to find the time. However, they did get statements from both candidates on the proposed Flyunder:

Zac Goldsmith:
Zaq Goldsmith
"I strongly support the idea of taking the A4 underground, allowing us to knit together all of Hammersmith into one beautiful riverside town. The project also has huge potential for reducing air and noise pollution. With up to 10,000 lives cut short a year due to London’s poor air quality, I am committed to taking action to address this. Tackling the gridlock and congestion at sites such as the Hammersmith flyover is essential to ensuring both motorists and the environment benefit and I await the outcome of the consultation process with great interest.
However, the scheme is not currently funded in Transport for London's business plan - which means the next Mayor will need to work with Government, business and the local community to find innovative ways to finance the scheme. I am determined to do that.

Sadiq Khan:
Sadiq Khan
"The Hammersmith Flyunder is an innovative idea that could both reduce traffic in the area and cut down on air and noise pollution in the local area. I look forward to hearing the result of the consultation and if the local community wants to go ahead, I would work with Hammersmith and Fulham council, Ministers and businesses to help facilitate getting the necessary funding and moving the scheme forward.”

So, with both candidates in favour, what can possibly go wrong? Plenty. The trouble is money - or the lack of it.  The Flyunder is a massive engineering scheme that would demolish the existing Hammersmith Flyover and replace it with a tunnel - the Flyunder. If it goes ahead, it will be very, very expensive. 

Almost everyone in our neighbourhood is in favour of it.  The building of the Flyover in 1961 carved Hammersmith in two and demolished much elegant Victorian housing,  and was one of the reasons that the Hammersmith Society was originally founded.

To demolish the flyover and build a tunnel would return Hammersmith to its original state. And who wouldn't want to see this eyesore removed and traffic forced underground? The opportunity to re-join Hammersmith's divided neighbourhoods and see the end of big urban traffic jams sounds very appealing, at least in principle.

How it might look
The problem, of course, is money. The cost of the project will be immense. Presumably it is only the recent rise in the value of real estate in our Borough that makes the project even worth talking about. But this surely means that, when the cars and lorries leave, luxury flats and office space will soon replace them.

So, anyone dreaming of a leafy public park between Hammersmith and the River Thames may well be out of luck. The economics of the project will surely demand a maximum quantity of new build.


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  1. Hammersmith Residents ... stop this burning of billions of pounds building a huge, expensive, short tunnel to replace something that works and has worked for decades. Spend the money on education our children and the NHS please. Politicians and developers with money want the land to luxury flats and skyscraper offices. Really? do you want that?

  2. Dont' we need residential houses and office space? Surely there is a shortage of both in London?