Former Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith has blasted his successor, Sarah Olney, for not acting faster on plans for a temporary bridge alongside Hammersmith Bridge.

The former Tory MP said that Ms Olney and Hammersmith Council had "dismissed proposals for a temporary bridge" and that the "obvious barrier to securing a temporary bridge" was down to "politics".

Following his defeat in the December General Election, Goldsmith also said he no longer had the authority to continue the project after previously securing support for it last year.

He said: "While I was the MP, I was able to relay numerous very positive updates both from the engineering firm, Beckett Rankine, and Transport Ministers.

"Since the election, proposals for a temporary bridge have been dismissed by the new MP, Sarah Olney, and the Council.

Wandsworth Times:

Marine engineering firm Beckett Rankine's initial temporary bridge design

"However their arguments have been strongly refuted by the engineering firm, which has a great deal of experience delivering structures of the sort we need.

"The only obvious barrier to securing a temporary bridge is politics, and with the right approach that can be overcome, but as I am no longer the MP, that responsibility now falls to Ms Olney."

He also said that Beckett Rankine were keen to discuss their proposals with MP Sarah Olney and the leader of Hammersmith Council.

However, Ms Olney dismissed Goldsmith's claims and said that the Beckett Rankine proposal failed to address the movement of river traffic, because the span between the proposed five supports for the bridge did not meet the Port of London Authority (PLA) requirement of 80 metres of navigable channel.

Ms Olney said: "Both Transport for London (TfL) and Hammersmith Council agree that the Beckett Rankine proposals are unfeasible and Cllr Cowan and David Rowe explained why a temporary walking and cycling bridge is the best alternative.

"On the Richmond side of the river, the proposed footpath of the vehicle bridge does not provide safe - working room between the pedestal of the bridge and the road.

Wandsworth Times:

"Furthermore, the approximate location of the bridge’s Anchor Chamber is very close to residential properties.

"TfL therefore conclude that in order to maintain access to the Anchor Chamber, which is vital to the repair works, the properties would potentially have to be demolished."

She also said that the walking and cycling bridge that TfL has proposed would be far narrower and would avoid the problems raised.

TfL currently estimates that the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge will take three years, however the full extent of the cracks will not be known until all the paint is removed from the bridge.

At present TfL have committed £25 million and on January 7, Baroness Vere, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, confirmed, in an oral question in the House of Lords that she would be open to supporting the funding for the bridge.