Gallows Corner flyover celebrates its golden anniversary this week, having been erected fifty years ago as a temporary flyover.
Conservative GLA member for Havering and Redbridge Keith Prince today writes in the Havering Daily.
Having been born and bred in Havering, I remember Gallows Corner being erected by the Royal Engineers.
In a way it’s fitting that we should celebrate this “temporary” structure’s Half Century!
With an original design life of 15 years it is a monument to British Engineering (they don’t build them like that anymore!) that it has lasted for more than three times as long.
However the reason for this long life is that successive guardians, as is so often the case, have failed to see outer London as a priority.
Its current owner – and, indeed, its longest – is Transport for London (TfL) but after 20+ years and three Mayors progress has been painfully slow.
As the Greater London Assembly Member for Havering & Redbridge I am determined that not only will the flyover be replaced but also that it will be improved.
During my election campaign in 2016 I brought Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative Candidate, down to Gallows Corner and insisted he pledged to build a replacement. I have no doubt that he would have done so. Alas, although Havering and Redbridge voted for Zac, sadly Londoners as a whole chose Sadiq Khan instead.
Once they had done so I worked hard across party lines to make real progress on Gallows Corner. I invited the newly elected Mayor to visit Havering and see Gallows Corner for himself. To his credit he came down. I showed him our preferred design, which was a model crafted by Councillor Ray Best). He announced, in front of several members of the press in attendance that “the status quo is not acceptable” and he promised to do something about it.
That was in July 2016 – nearly four years ago. Since then I have been in ongoing discussions with TfL, Havering Council and our two MPs. Throughout this time I have aimed to keep residents updated on the progress or lack of it in the local papers, on radio and online.
TfL’s first proposal was to knock down the flyover and simply replace it with traffic lights. I, along with Cllr Ray Best and ably assisted by David Ainsworth, resisted this.
I was told it was too expensive to replace the flyover. I held meetings with TfL and Havering Council but, although a few options were discussed, no more money was available. Then the Government announced a new scheme whereby Local Authorities could bid for £50 million packages for schemes just like Gallows Corner. Quick as a flash and to her immense credit, our new MP Julia Lopez got the then Secretary of State to agree to TfL being able to put in a bid.
I have had numerous meetings with TfL working on the plans, sometimes with Julia Lopez MP or Andrew Rosindell MP and sometimes with both of them.
TfL has repeatedly promised me the structural report on the existing flyover, but I have yet to receive it!
The current situation is that a replacement flyover would cost around £100 million. A Y shaped flyover, which is the preferred model, would serve the A12 Eastbound would cost £150 million and the traffic lights around £50 million.
I have worked with the Council, the Leader of the Council Damian White, Andrew Rosindell MP and Julia Lopez MP in lobbying the Government for more money.
My worry is that those who are pushing for an immediate solution, may get their wish, and then we will be lumbered with a set of traffic lights.
I am hoping to buy time so that we can get more money from Central Government and a new Mayor who knows where outer London is and will commit TfL funds (after all it is their flyover) to doing what is right by the residents of Havering and give us an improved flyover.
That is just one of a vast number of reasons why I will be backing Shaun Bailey AM at next year’s London Mayoral elections. Shaun lives locally, he knows Havering and he will deliver. That is why we desperately need him as our next Mayor of London.