The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has thrown his support behind plans for a Hammersmith flyunder.
The first artist’s impressions of how Hammersmith town centre could look if a flyunder burrows beneath the current A4 were released yesterday (3 March) with Johnson describing it as a “brilliant” scheme.
Before and after images of the area around Hammersmith Apollo, The Ark, the Novotel Hotel, King Street and St Paul’s Church all show the six-lane A4 removed and instead replaced with new homes, offices and green space.
Around £1 billion worth of former highway land could be freed up to help pay for the flyunder works, according to a feasibility study from Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
The images were released as the Mayor of London said doubts over the scheme had been quashed following a meeting last week. Speaking on LBC Radio, he said: “A presentation came in from H&F. They’ve been working for months on this idea of creating a new town centre in H&F. We’ve been listening to this for months and months thinking come off it this is never going to work and actually it is brilliant. It adds up. It’s a most fantastic scheme. We’re going to tunnelise the flyover. What was interesting was even the hardened Transport for London (TfL) engineers looked at all this – they’ve been very sceptical – and they thought it was a great scheme.”
The three alternative tunnels in the council’s interim study, which is set to be finalised and published later this month, vary from one mile to 2.5 miles long and are likely to cost between £218million and £1.7billion.
The shortest option would involve digging a ‘cut and cover’ tunnel 15 metres beneath the surface between just opposite Furnivall Gardens in the west and Hammersmith & West London College in the east.
Eighty nine per cent of respondents back some form of tunnel replacement, according to a council poll, and both long and short tunnels were found to be geo-technically feasible in the thick band of London clay beneath Hammersmith.
The council says the flyunder would act as a catalyst to transform Hammersmith’s divided town centre and could be self-financing although TfL now needs to take on the next stage of the project as they own and manage the A4.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F council leader, added: “The Hammersmith Flyunder is just the sort of exciting regeneration project that shows what a dynamic and thriving place London is. We are breaking away from the narrow old concerns where transport improvements were solely about traffic flows. A flyunder is about so much more than improving traffic and the Mayor understands, as we do, that this is about a much wider picture. In one move we could tear down Hammersmith’s Berlin Wall, reconnecting our divided town centre in the process, and make our town centre an even more attractive place to live in, visit or do business. It is hugely encouraging that the Mayor has seen the bigger picture and vowed to take the project on to the next stage.”