Greenwich councillor under fire over Thames crossings campaign

News Shopper: Denise Hyland at the campaign launch Denise Hyland at the campaign launch

GREENWICH'S councillor in charge of regeneration was given a torrid time after a barrage of questions over the local authority's campaign for new river crossings.

A whopping 28 public questions had been put in for Greenwich Council's full meeting last night, following its launch of the Bridge The Gap campaign - backing a new road tunnel on the peninsula and a bridge at Gallions Reach in Thamesmead.

But, despite that campaign, cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Denise Hyland repeatedly told questioners that Transport for London was responsible for studies of the impact the tunnel would have on traffic and pollution.

At one point, following a question from Conservative Councillor Nigel Fletcher about whether she would meet with experts to discuss it, she burst out: "What is it you don't understand about the word no?"

Of the public questions, 13 - on issues ranging from pollution to cost - got the same seven-line written answer from Cllr Hyland.

It stated: "Once a specific package of crossings is formulated, it will be for the mayor to undertake the necessary economic, environmental and traffic management assessments."

Other questions were raised on how the council could pay for a campaign which was based on "conjecture".

But Councillor Hyland insisted these were questions for TfL and that there would be regeneration benefits for the borough.

Pressed on the issue later by Cllr Fletcher, she said: "These are a Conservative mayor's proposals. This is for TfL to do the impact studies on their own plan.

"You'd be the first to round on me and accuse me of spending public money where actually the duty for doing these studies rests with TfL."

- The full council meeting was held four days after 25,000 people marched through Lewisham against hospital cuts and the day before Jeremy Hunt made his health services announcement. But not one Greenwich councillor raised the issue of hospitals at the meeting.

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