The row over funding for repairs to Hammersmith Bridge has continued, despite the government offering to pay a third of the cost towards the work in a new announcement.

As part of a bailout extension agreement for TfL announced on Tuesday (June 1), the government had put up £30 million to pay toward the cost of repairs to the bridge - with the suggestion that TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council pay the remaining two-thirds of the bill.

But the estimated cost of repairs by the government is significantly below previous estimates for a full restoration from the council and TfL, which estimated the cost to be in excess of £140 million.

While the bridge has been closed to vehicles since April 2019, the closure was extended to cover pedestrians and cyclists in August 2020 – after existing cracks in the bridge were worsened following a heatwave.

The government's announcement was welcomed by Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney of the Lib Dems, who said it was "fantastic news" and a "huge relief not just for my constituents, but for residents across South West London".

She urged all parties to work together constructively, adding: “While I recognise that further discussions must take place for all parties to agree on the cost of the project, I am nonetheless glad to see productive dialogue taking place."

Read more: Plan for partial reopening of Hammersmith Bridge this summer

But Putney's Labour MP Fleur Anderson took a very different tone, tweeting to her followers that the announcement was "terrible news for the people of South West London".


She accused the government of refusing to pay more than a third of the costs, suggesting "they have ignored every proposal put forward to open the bridge earlier".

Indeed, the leader of Labour-led Hammersmith and Fulham Council branded the announcement as "party political game-playing".

In a statement, leader Steven Cowan said: "The announcement demonstrates the contempt this government, and its absurdly named Taskforce, has for the people of south-west London.

"It is simply more of the same party political game-playing that has characterised its approach throughout.

"Hammersmith Bridge is one of the world's oldest mechanical suspension bridges and one of the most expensive in Britain to repair.

"Yet the Government is seeking to impose an unprecedented 33 per cent of the cost on Hammersmith & Fulham.

Read more: Row over Hammersmith Bridge repair costs

"That is tens of millions of pounds more than any other London council has ever paid for bridge repairs and comes on top of the record £8.6million we are already paying."

He accused the government of having ignored Hammersmith and Fulham's previous proposals on how the cost of repairs could be funded.

It is understood there are still plans to push for a partial reopening of the bridge this summer, subject to approval from engineers.

An alternative ferry service is also on track to be introduced in September.