Author: Cyril Richert
A local architect has presented a project of a new footbridge linking Battersea square and Imperial Wharf and the final design has been submitted for planning permission before the Councils of Wandsworth (ref 2012/5261) and Hammersmith and Fulham (ref 2012/03582/FUL) in November 2012.
I first heard about the idea when Martin Linton, the former Battersea MP, mentioned the topic during the discussion that we had with Office of Rail Regulation officers at the parliament in November 2009. Although the discussion was mainly focussed on Clapham Junction station, the agenda mentioned “Footbridge across River Thames (Battersea Rail Bridge) – Access to Imperial Wharf (footbridge on railway bridge)“. Although it was a brilliant idea (and much needed with the recent development of Imperial Wharf, with a tube station and no bridge between Battersea and Wandsworth) I must confess that I was sceptical about the possibility of having Wandsworth Council, the government or Network Rail finding any funding for such project. Especially as it seemed already so difficult to get anything for the much needed redevelopment of Clapham Junction.
But here it is. As I read in the Clapham & Battersea Time & Leisure January 2013 edition, the idea was not triggered by any local or central authority, but by Chris Medland, Managing Director of architects One World Design. Having lived in Plantation Wharf for ten years he found that a link across the river was so logical that he decided to make it one of his projects. With no support other than some local businesses (Palace Investments and Hotel Rafayel), he was still able to employ the bridge engineers, tidal specialists, river ecologists and environmental consultants needed to put together a plan of this scale. Building the bridge would cost £22 million and Mr Medland hoped the footbridge would receive funding from a corporate private sponsorship or high-net-worth individual (a sponsor would buy the naming rights to help funding the project, in a similar way to the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture and viewing deck in the Olympic Park). Chris Medland is optimistic that if given the green light by both councils, the project could be achieved as early as 2014.
According to Kensington and Chelsea Today, consultation has taken place with key stakeholders such as Transport for London, Network Rail, The Environment Agency and the Port of London Authority and English Heritage, and local freeholders and residents, the design team have also been working closely with the planning departments at both Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth. And although the plan is currently to achieve corporate sponsorship for the full amount, at no cost to the taxpayer or Local Authorities, the article says that it is anticipated that LB Wandsworth would adopt the bridge on completion. All of that sounds the best recipe for success!
In 2010, Labour MP Martin Linton in a re-election video called for a footbridge to be built alongside Battersea Railway Bridge.
Recently, Jane Ellison MP and Richard Tracey (London Assembly) have also been lobbying for a new bridge in this location.
CJAG has submitted a letter of support. You can read it HERE.