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In August, last year, we wrote a short piece covering the ambitious Garden Bridge project, a proposed pedestrian bridge with landscaped gardens that will span the River Thames in central London.
Well it seems the idea has caught on but with considerably less controversy. Award winning, London based architects One-world design have recently released images of their proposed garden walkway, a project that will see the complete transformation of an otherwise unused section of a Grade II-listed Victorian railway bridge (Barnes Bridge) that spans the Thames between Barnes and Chiswick.
The One-world design team have been working closely with local residents on plans for this stunning promenade that would create a green link between the two neighbourhoods.
Designed by civil engineer, Joseph Locke, in the 19th Century the bridge itself is a central, two-track, railway bridge. It has a pedestrian and cycle crossing to the east and a separate and disused railway bridge to the west that shares the river piers.
The current proposed scheme seeks to take the crossing and transform it into a walkway that has been designed to attract wildlife and promote biodiversity – something many of our towns and cities currently lack.
To further enhance the view from the bridge, the existing riverside metal clad upstand would be removed and replaced with a glass balustrade. This would also have the added effect of making the bridge appear less prominent from the riverbank. LED lighting in the floor, balustrade and bollards would serve to illuminate the bridge with plans to have the light react to movement and change colour as desired.
The proposed planting scheme would see the use of trees and shrubs in areas immediately above the river piers (for structural reasons), as well as the creation of a living wall to prevent trespassers from gaining access to an adjoining section of live track.
Under the watchful eye of the Barnes Community Association (BCA) the planting of the trees and shrubbery would be carried out by a local group of residents lead by Peter Banks, who originally approached the BCA with the idea of transforming the bridge into a garden walkway. The proposal will also see the same group of residents responsible for maintaining the planting once the bridge is complete.
In a recent statement the BCA confirmed they have already secured support for the project from the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Hounslow councils, in addition to receiving an ‘in principle’ agreement from Network Rail.
With these integral agreements in place a full costing of the project can now been drawn up allowing the BCA to make applications to the Mayor of London and the National Lottery for funding.
As you would expect with a project of this nature there appears to be no shortage of public support, with the repurposing of an existing structure proving to be an appealing concept for many. By taking this unused railway bridge and transforming it into something beautiful, residents have something stunning to wake up to and visit every day and in a world that needs more green, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction.