Monday, 2 March 2020

Richard Woolf was made most welcome at the Port of London Authorities Upper Tidal Thames public meeting on Tuesday 25th February. Held at Putney in the London Rowing Club and chaired by Robin Mortimer Chief Executive of The Port of London Authority , this well attended evening discussed progress over the last year.  Focus was on the Thames Vision 2035 strategic report, upriver maintenance, local river works, Hammersmith Bridge closure and the forthcoming Harbour Revisions Order publication. Complex matters, but all discussed with good humour by the officers and public alike.

Richard was able to present a formal question to the PLA regarding the next stage of Richmond Councils initiative into assessing a river crossing between Ham and Twickenham. In response, James Trimmer , PLA Planning Officer, noted they were well aware of this long term initiative and that the PLA were approached frequently about new river crossings along the 95 miles of river Thames under their control.

Three key issues of concern to the PLA were the maintain safe navigation, establish an appropriate bridge height for commercial and leisure craft and finally develop a design with few or no piers within the tidal Thames itself.

Richard welcomed this positive reply and informed the meeting that he would maintain contact and update the Port of London Authority as the initiative progressed.

Monday, 13 January 2020

A new Thames bridge to facilitate Active Travel

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRUT) is the only London borough to be situated (equally) on both sides of the river. Building a new bridge over the river Thames is not a decision anyone takes lightly, especially in West London, which hasn’t had a new bridge for a long time.  

Did you know?
Richmond Bridge is the oldest surviving Thames Bridge still in use. (It was the eighth Thames bridge to be erected in what is known as Greater London, built in 1777 by James Paine and Kenton Couse). Kingston Bridge was built in 1828, Teddington Lock bridges (with a small island between them) were built between 1887-1889 and Twickenham Bridge didn’t come along until 1933, when the Chertsey Arterial Road was developed (now known as the A316).

So, when LBRUT invited members of the public to share ideas for Twickenham (July 2010) Mark Wing and Richard Woolf decided to introduce Radnor Bridge. They said it was the ‘Big Idea’ Twickenham and Ham desperately needed – A new Thames crossing to facilitate Active Travel. Providing the densely populated Strawberry Hill access to vast metropolitan open land just 90m away, and people in Ham access to public transport connections previously out of reach.

The Radnor Bridge (named after Radnor Gardens, where it lands on the north bank) is a strategic solution to a divided 'transpontine' borough and promises a wonderful legacy for future generations; It will be engineered to protect biodiversity, creating a green corridor from Twickenham through to Richmond Park and beyond. Thus completing the Arcadian vision of previous generations.

It will have an elegant architectural form, and be as much about the landscape as the structure. The deck will provide two segregated levels. The higher level will be for pedestrians (a safe disabled compliant route), while the lower level will be for cyclists (a two-lane provision for substantial cycle capacity for commuters and leisure cyclists alike). Together these will deliver a single span crossing with clearance height for river cruisers.

Three schools and a University will benefit enormously – Radnor House School and St Catherine's School, the German School in Ham, and then of course St Mary's University in Strawberry Hill – There are many parents from both sides of the river who have written, saying how they want their children's commute to be shorter and safer. By simply crossing the river at Radnor Gardens many of their concerns will be addressed and a lot of commuters will be taken off the roads.

If fresh air is your thing then Radnor Bridge will square the circle; connecting Ham House to Strawberry Hill House and then on to York House, Orleans Gallery and Marble Hill House, before you return to Ham via Hammertons Ferry. And if you want to learn how to sail then Thames Young Mariners, located in Ham Lands, will be an easier place to reach.

Martin Habell, Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, said (in his call to LBRUT to make Richmond a world leader in healthy living); “There is of course great opportunity: recent proposals for a pedestrian bridge from Ham to Radnor Gardens, to open up green space for central Twickenham residents should be moved up the agenda as part of a walking network par-excellence”.

After years of campaigning, the Council’s Local Plan committed to investigating the possibility of a footbridge across the Thames between Ham and Twickenham. Consultants WSP were asked to carry out high-level work, comparing potential locations for foot/cycle bridges within Richmond.  Their brief was to identify where in Richmond any locations for bridges might stack up in terms of need, demand, cost and deliverability. The Radnor Bridge location (ref: Bridge13) came out favourably in this work and in October 2018, a new administration in LBRUT invited the borough through an online consultation to “have your say”.

New Thames crossings are few and far between. Even accounting for the lesser width of the river in Richmond there remain significant engineering, environmental and cost challenges. The feasibility study, started by WSP, helps the Council identify these challenges and determine next steps. Who will fund it, is seen as the first hurdle… but this is not thought as insurmountable.

In July 2019, Richmond Council declared a climate emergency. As part of this declaration, the Council resolves to be recognised as the greenest London borough and to become carbon neutral by 2030. The Council therefore adopted a new ambitious Local Implementation Plan featuring the headline target for 75% of trips to be by sustainable modes (walking, cycling and public transport) by 2041, from a baseline of 61%. It has now been suggested that parties seeking representation in the 2022 Council elections should include plans for a “TwicknHamBridge” in their manifestos.

Watch this space.

About the author;
Mark Wing has lived in Twickenham since 1970. A creative strategist and brand consultant he is the owner of Interrelated Ltd and the founder of the Radnor Bridge idea. He invited Richard Woolf, who has lived in Ham since 1980, to join him in this campaign in 2010. Richard is an architect and together with his wife Fiona McDaniel runs McDaniel Woolf in Richmond.

A version of this article was first published in Darling Magazine on 10th January 2020.

2020 Vision

And so begins another decade of campaigning for the Radnor Bridge. Let’s hope this is our year...

We started by getting our abstract white paper off to the organisers of Footbridge 2020. Maybe we’ll see you in Madrid?

Monday, 21 October 2019

LBRUT: Transport and Air Quality Committee

Richard and Mark will be attending the Councils' Transport and Air Quality Committee meeting this evening (21st October 2019).

Richard is registered to ask a question of the committee regarding topic #6 titled "Active Travel Strategy". Things we would like the committee to consider include;
  1. It’s pretty odd to run a consultation attracting 1000 responses, overwhelmingly positive, on a dual-use bridge and then not mention it at all in the draft Active Travel Strategy.
  2. The Active Travel Strategy does explicitly mention some of the issues Radnor Bridge could help massively with (E.g.; high levels of cycling demand in the area, problems with the width of Richmond Bridge for cycling, the barrier to connectivity the river represents, safety issues, consideration of bridges over busy roads, etc.
  3. The Strategy could and should include a commitment to carry out the second phase of work on feasibility of the two options supported by the public and first study in consultation. It would, of course, involve officer time and resource (...but we know of a direct offer from the Mayor for TfL support in answer to a written question on the matter of resources being made available, from Caroline Pidgeon, last year).
  4. The Council can’t, of course, commit to building a bridge within the timescales because it is reliant on the outcome of further work and on discussion with others over funding sources. But it does need to be taken forward to the next phase of work, and this is the right opportunity to commit to doing so.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Twick'n'Ham Bridge

Recently a new campaign was launched on Twitter promoting an alternative bridge across the River Thames connecting Twickenham to Ham. We're not sure who is behind this action (but we can hazard a guess).

The confusing thing is that they have called their bridge "Twick'n'Ham Bridge", which was quickly pointed out by @twickerman to be regarded as a generic reference for a river crossing in this part of London Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames (LBRUT). Indeed, the Radnor Bridge has used the term "Twick'n'Ham" on a number of its social media channels since it emerged in 2010.

Some context

In January 2019 Radnor Bridge was one of two bridges that were announced as favourable options from a review looking at ways to address the growing transport infrastructure needs in West London. It is important to note that LBRUT is the only 'transpontine' borough in London (equally divided on both sides of the river).

A pedestrian and cycle bridge feasibility study was produced by WSP in October 2018, for the previous leadership at LBRUT. This study looked into a variety of bridge options, proposed locations and expected demand and usage. Based on the recommendations from this feasibility study LBRUT (under new leadership at this time) put the vote to the people in "A call for evidence – your views on the idea of a new pedestrian and cycling bridge in the borough", the results of which can be found here.

Just two bridges were recommended for further consideration. These were "bridge 13" (RadnorBridge) and "bridge 15" (which calls itself Twick'n'Ham Bridge although it crosses from Ham House to Orleans Gallery, close to where Hammerton Ferry boat is located). 

Moving forward

A public debate is now being had, on social media and in other forums, regarding both of these initiatives. Once LBRUT has decided how to proceed, funding will need to be found to make their preferred solution happen. This could be that both bridges get built or, due to their proximity to one another, just one bridge gets built (we think this is the more likely).

Our response to their 5 tweets

The Orleans Gallery bridge has posted on Twitter 5 key reasons to promote their bridge as the right choice. Obviously we beg to differ with their points of view and can share our responses here;

 In response to their tweet 3/5 we shared a picture of the benefits listed in the Radnor Bridge pamphlet, which can also be found here "Our New Thames Bridge" on this blog.

If you have further response /comments to share to this discussion, please do so here.


We were pleased to see this supportive letter for Radnor Bridge, from Doug Wheller, which was published in the Twickenham Tribune;

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

A response to the Twickenham & Richmond Tribune

We were surprised to read the 'bridge too far' article in the 2nd August edition (ref; 0143).

Radnor Bridge is not a bridge too far. This is the same title as was used in the Richmond & Twickenham Times article several years ago and endorsed mainly by Clare Head. Was she behind this new article?

When the previous article was published it alluded to the deep social divisions in the borough. Proclaiming that people in Strawberry Hill did not want the riff-raff from Ham to have access across the river. This point of view was rightly scorned on social media and is precisely why we need to see the bridge built.

This somewhat divisive perspective is very narrow minded and does not fairly represent the point of view of the vast majority of people living in Strawberry Hill. People in a position of influence within the borough should not use their position to hinder progress for the many.

The Radnor Bridge promises a wonderful legacy for future generations living within LBRUT. It is a strategic solution to a divided 'transpontine' borough and will deliver a much needed modern solution to our transport infrastructure requirements.

The cost of the bridge is unknown as yet, so proposing figures of £19m in your article is unsubstantiated. But without doubt Radnor Bridge will pay for itself many times over once in existence. The leaflets you referred to were shared openly at both Ham and Twickenham summer fairs this year. In them you will find a list of some of the many benefits we believe Radnor Bridge will bring to our borough.

The local support for Radnor Bridge (which these two events revealed) showed us that this is NOT a bridge too far but is in-fact a much needed solution that many would like to see built.

Friday, 21 June 2019

RadnorBridge pop-ups

In June we established a pop up gazebo at both the Ham Fair and then for the two days Twickenham Church Street Goes Green. Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

In anticipation of these two events we had 2000 of 'Our New Thames Bridge' booklets printed. This is an 8pp leaflet that helps communicate detailed information about the Radnor Bridge idea, in terms of what has been done to-date and what needs to be done next.

Both events proved to be fabulous occasions for meeting members of the public. They also presented an opportunity to gather instant feedback on the idea and quickly learn how keen people are to see it happen. Needless to say the feedback was mainly very positive, which is great. We only wish we had done this sooner! Maybe then we would have score a significantly higher percentage of people wanting "Bridge 13" (Radnor Bridge) in the "Have your say" consultation, run by the Council, following the SWP feasibility study.

Following these events we are definitely picking up a discernible increase in volume, as people share and discuss the Radnor Bridge idea online and also face to face. This is all very exciting as this was our primary objective; to simply increase awareness and get people talking about this idea more.

May we encourage you to speak to any Councillors you know, so that collectively we can encourage key decision makers locally and so help get this bridge built.