Back in 2010, Mark Wing and Richard Woolf teamed up to propose a new pedestrian and twin lane cycle bridge over the River Thames. The location at Radnor Gardens, as the satellite image shows, seemed obvious from a topological point of view.
This 'big idea' was to grow into a personal exercise resulting in some fabulous open debate and some very interesting personal introductions.
In 2011 we shared the following on this blog;
The opportunity came about because a personal friend of Mark's was engaged as a Councillor in the Richmond-Upon-Thames area, with responsibility for the river and its immediate surrounding areas. So when the Council decided to host a public meeting in July, to give local people the opportunity to shape the future of Twickenham, he encouraged us to share some ideas.
The event was known as the 'Barefoot Consultation' and lasted several days. The aim was to reinvent the process of ideas generation and community consultation and in so doing gathered together individuals and collectives with their initiatives and ideas for the borough (as well as allowing expression to those with concerns over the future of our built environment). The event sought to challenge preconceptions offering a range of possibilities and a platform to communicate them to a wider audience. Although focused on Twickenham, many of the exhibitors such as the River Thames Society had close links to Ham too.
Richard and Mark had been pondering over the crossing for some time and this event in July proved the ideal moment for us to exhibit a proposal that is now slowly gathering momentum.
The Radnor Bridge will provide a single span crossing with clearance height for modern leisure craft and will support the current expansion of cycling as a major alternative means of transport within the capital. The objective is to provide a bridge, which will give both a safe segregated disabled compliant pedestrian route and a two-lane provision for substantial cycle capacity for commuters and leisure cyclists alike. In addition it will enable many families with school age children to gain safe cycle access between the two parts of the borough.
Key reasons why the Radnor Bridge is the right idea for Richmond Borough;
Despite these "tightening our belt" times, The Radnor Bridge will prove its value to both Ham and Twickenham as being far greater than the cost to build it. Richard and Mark are also convinced this is the right location for such a bridge because;
- It will provide the perfect round walk, offering the densely populated Strawberry Hill area with access to what has been described as "one of the most significant and extensive stretches of riverside historic landscape and public amenity open space of any city in the world" (Kim Wilkie Report, 2005), which happens to be only 50 meters away on the other side of the river.
- It will serve to open up more of Twickenham to the river, taking emphasis away from the heated debate about the town centre, encouraging greater interest and access to other parts of the town.
- It will increase use of the much loved Hammerton ferry crossing (accessed from Marble Hill Gardens) not put it out of business, as many have feared a bridge between Twickenham and Ham would do.
- It will support the 1.3 million people who annually enjoy walking along the river trail, by connecting Ham House to Strawberry Hill House. Boosting local tourism and making this a very pleasant day's excursion.
Mark has lived in Twickenham since 1970 and commented in the press in July "…it is hard to believe there has never been a bridge here before. It is the most perfect position to cross the river and will open up both communities".
Richard, an architect based in Richmond, has lived in Ham since 1980. We have worked together on Design Council initiatives and he is also involved in a number of Richmond/Ham developments and therefore has a good understanding of the landscaping strategy for the Ham side of the river. In July Richard was quoted in the press as saying "This particular river crossing will make a natural progression of landscape and urban designs long planned for this part of London, making it a very exciting project and one that must surely be built".