Seeking to mitigate impact of Wandsworth Bridge closure
Congestion on New Kings Road is expected to be heavy during closure. Picture: Twitter/@cameratraffic
June 12, 2023
The Conservative opposition on Hammersmith and Fulham Council has published a three point plan which it says will help save South Fulham businesses impacted by the closure of Wandsworth Bridge for 10 weeks.
Ahead of the forthcoming closure, which is due to begin on 24 July a spokesperson for the party says, “Conditions for trading in the area were already difficult, many businesses have faced a dramatic decline in business activity in South Fulham since the introduction of the SW6 Traffic Schemes. The row of empty shops on the Wandsworth Bridge Road tells its own story. Cutting off the main route from Wandsworth for a summer will be devastating.”
The proposals, which they have dubbed “Our Plan to Save South Fulham Businesses”, include an emergency business rate rebate, a total suspension of the South Fulham Clean Air Neighbourhood restrictions and putting pressure on Wandsworth Council to complete the repairs more quickly by working 24/7 and increasing the number of staff on the project.
They say, “While the Scheme to the West is still in its trial, we call on Labour-run LBHF to suspend the SW6 Traffic Scheme so those from outside the Borough can continue to access our shops and are not discouraged from visiting our local business and residents.”
The council says it has assessed the impact of the bridge closure on traffic in the area and ruled out a total suspension of the operation of the ANPR cameras with just one being taken out of action during the affected time period.
It is not clear whether it is in the power of local authorities to grant a blanket business rate relief for firms in a particular area but shops and restaurants can already apply to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if they local disruption, including roadworks, has affected the value of their property and a temporary reduction in rates could be offered.
Greg Hands MP said, “The 10-week full closure of Wandsworth Bridge by Labour-run Wandsworth Council will be a hammer blow to businesses and constituents of Fulham and Chelsea.
“We are already swamped with diverted and displaced traffic from the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and dealing with the Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s controversial SW6 Traffic Scheme.
“Now that we are faced with the closure of Wandsworth Bridge – it is a triple whammy of grief for businesses and constituents!”
He has launched a petition for residents who support his party’s three point plan to sign.
Cllr Jose Afonso, H&F Conservatives spokesman for the environment added, “Small independent businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy in Hammersmith & Fulham. Having survived Covid and the introduction of the SW6 Traffic Schemes, the closure of Wandsworth Bridge will be catastrophic for businesses in South Fulham. Our Plan delivers the temporary reprieve our local businesses need, and represents a pragmatic solution to what is a difficult problem.”
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