Not exactly earth-shattering news, but City Hall isn’t expecting work on the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to be complete until next year. Work on revamping the Thames crossing, together with its sister tunnel at Woolwich, stopped last year after a Greenwich Council refurbishment project collapsed in 2011.
Last month, it emerged that Labour London Assembly member Len Duvall had asked auditors to investigate the supervision of the project. While the works were being carried out on behalf of Greenwich Council, the cash had come from a Government agency whose work has since been taken over by the Greater London Authority.
Now Green assembly member Darren Johnson has taken up the issue, asking mayor Boris Johnson:
Greenwich foot tunnel
Question No: 1923 / 2013
Although responsibility for the refurbishment of the Greenwich foot tunnel lies with the Royal Borough, and given that these works have been stalled for several years will you as the Mayor of London and Chair of TfL instigate an investigation into what has gone wrong and urge Greenwich to publish a timetable for the completion of these works?
Written response from the Mayor
The foot tunnels are important strategic links, which need careful management to refurbish, given their age. Work on the refurbishment of the foot tunnels has been suspended whilst Greenwich re-evaluates the required scope of the works, as it has become clear that the scale of the task is greater than previously anticipated.
The tunnels are currently safe and open for use at all times and I understand that Greenwich anticipates procuring consultants and contractors shortly, in order to review and complete the works as early as possible in 2014. Once the procurement process has been finalised, a timetable for completion of the works will be announced.
What Boris Johnson’s response didn’t say is that Greenwich isn’t going to be commissioning any new works until its own investigation, led by John Willmoth, is complete. Last month, Greenwich Council said the report wasn’t yet complete, but would be presented to the council’s cabinet “at the earliest opportunity”.
At least, however, the reply from the mayor indicates City Hall has woken up to the issue – past responses, to Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, gave the impression it was shrugging off the issue and leaving it to Greenwich Council.