The Conservative's parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich has spoken of his "huge disappointment" after the Mayor broke his promise to reinstate tidal flow in the Blackwall Tunnel.
Speaking during a wide-ranging interview with Greenwich.co.uk, the current leader of the Conservatives on the council Spencer Drury said:
"I think it is a huge disappointment because it does create congestion unnecessarily. For years it worked perfectly well and I can’t see why it suddenly had to change."
In the run up to the Mayoral elections, Boris Johnson promised to reverse the controversial decision to end tidal flow "at the earliest opportunity."
The pledge gathered widespread support in the area and formed a major part of his transport manifesto. However, last month he admitted to LBC presenter Nick Ferrari that he would not fulfill his promise:
"If I were to impose my will and say restore that contraflow and if there was then to be some huge conflagration in that tunnel and there were fatalities I'm afraid then under the present law of corporate manslaughter brought in by this Labour government then the tragedy is that I would be liable."
Asked about the legal implications comments, Spencer Drury replied:
"I’m not aware of the legal position so I will have to take [Boris's] word for that, but yes it is a disappointment."
The importance of relieving congestion at Blackwall was highlighted after a recent fire in the tunnel caused widespread traffic chaos in the area. It also comes after reports that Olympic lanes will be installed in the tunnels.
However, on this issue Spencer Drury insists that the Mayor has listened:
"We’ve spoken with the Mayor’s office and they have said that this is not the case, so I don’t believe that the plan that we have seen in the public domain is the plan that we are going to end up with. I think the Mayor is listening to us on this."
He also hit out at Greenwich Council for failing to deal with congestion in the area:
"I have always said that one of the things that you could have as a legacy from the Olympics is sorting out congestion in Greenwich, that we could get outside organisations involved and say that we want this as a legacy and I think that many more residents would be on board about the Olympics if it meant we could sort out the town centre."
However, he suggested that the council's plans to pedestrianise the town centre were little more than an election gimmick:
"If you were cynical about it you might suggest that it is just because there is an election coming up because there doesn’t appear to have been a proper plan behind this. The problem is that they haven’t done a study on the surrounding areas. This is a huge hub within SE London and the impact the plans would have on Lewisham and on Deptford and on the A2 is even bigger. And because the Council have not looked at it on a global scale we might have a situation where it would work for one part of Greenwich but then has a negative effect elsewhere."
He believes that the council should instead secure funding to widen certain roads in the borough and even to build a road tunnel under Blackheath:
"Well one of my colleagues was very keen on taking one the road across the heath down into a tunnel because you could dig down very easily there and make it wider. I think that would be a lovely idea although I don’t know whether we would ever be able to afford it. But quite clearly if we want to look after our town centre we have to look at something that would be a genuine leagacy from the Olympics"
In part two of our interview Spencer Drury speaks out against plans to build a temporary stadium in Greenwich Park, says that the continued publication of Greenwich Time is "morally wrong" and claims that Chris Roberts is a "divisive" and unpopular leader of the council.