A Cheaper Better Plan for Hammersmith Bridge – Where Everyone Wins

Repairing the bridge in place is prohibitively expensive.

Demolition ruled out. It is Grade II listed

Nw Civil Engineer

Richmond council Leader Gareth Roberts said that demolition was not “within the realms of possibility”.

He added: “If we tried to demolish it, we would be mired in legal challenges from the Victorian Society and heritage groups. We’d have Griff Rhys Jones (President of the Victorian Society) down here protesting. We have to do what is both possible and realistic”.

However it is possible to remove each link and repair it chain by chain

An alternative proposal, backed by London-based marine engineers BeckettRankine on Twitter, would be to deploy a similar strategy to that used on the restoration of the Union Chain Bridge which spans England and Scotland.

During a meeting with residents in October, both Richmond and Hammersmith & Fulham council representatives said they were fully committed to restoring the existing bridge adding that replacing the bridge was “not viable”.

Richmond council Leader Gareth Roberts said that demolition was not “within the realms of possibility”.

He added: “If we tried to demolish it, we would be mired in legal challenges from the Victorian Society and heritage groups. We’d have Griff Rhys Jones (President of the Victorian Society) down here protesting. We have to do what is both possible and realistic”.

An alternative proposal, backed by London-based marine engineers BeckettRankine on Twitter, would be to deploy a similar strategy to that used on the restoration of the Union Chain Bridge which spans England and Scotland.

Appointed by Northumberland County Council, Spencer Group is dismantling the Union Chain Bridge and carrying out a complete refurbishment and rebuild.

The bridge, which links England and Scotland, has a single span of 137m. Crossing the River Tweed from Horncliffe in Northumberland to Fishwick in Berwickshire, it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1820.

Using a bespoke overhead cable crane and access platform, 700m2 of timber bridge decking has now been removed to be refurbished offsite. The crane and access platform allowed the team to avoid working from beneath the bridge on the River Tweed, averting the risk of delay due to recent high tides.

Dismantling , repair and reconstruction of this bridge will only cost 10 million.

My proposal is simple, remove and repair each link but move it reinstating it as a narrower pedestrian and cycle only bridge connecting Craven Cottage and the Barn Elms wetlands, with a modern treated timber base and concrete new piers and columns in the form of the old bridge. Then launch an international architectural competition for a new bridge at the old location. We know from replacement of old bridges swept away in the Cumbria Floods that new bridges can be more attractive than old ones in exceptional circumstances such as these. Surely this would enhance net heritage assets by creating a new one – compatible with the ‘internal balence test’ established in recent caselaw

Lets do the math, Repair in situ of Hammersmith Bridge will cost 100 million. Lets say dismantling/repair of Hammersmith Bridge will cost twice that of Union Chain Bridge, say 20 million. New Piers at Barn Elms say 15 million, cost of a new Bridge across the Thames. The Millennium Bridge cost 18 million, double it. 36 million. Total cost 71 million saving 29 million and getting two bridges for price of one. In a funding deal

a) Heritage Lottery fun funds repair of chains

b) Mayor of London funds erection of erection of Cycling Bridge at Barn Elms

c) Councils, TfL, DfT split costs four ways for new Hammersmith Bridge – 9 million each, funded over 30 years with a public services loan board loan.

Everybody wins.

Pooley Bridge Cumbria

Does Canterbury Have Good Strategic Options?

Canterbury

The big question of whether Canterbury should have thousands of new homes to fund a much-needed eastern bypass – bringing with it major environmental benefits for the city centre – is set to go out to public consultation.

Canterbury City Council’s Policy Committee meets next Thursday (27 May) to discuss whether to put the options consultation for the review of its Local Plan out for public views.

And the ‘preferred growth scenario’ set out in the committee report is for between 14,000 and 17,000 new homes for the district up to the year 2040, with the majority of them in the city alongside some expansion on the coast and in villages to support the housing needs of those places and the continuing regeneration of Herne Bay.

The government’s minimum requirement for new homes in the district up to 2040 is 9,000, but following extensive research and having heard the views of residents in last year’s issues consultation, the council is taking the view that a much bolder approach might be the best way forward.

Up to 17,000 new homes would unlock the developer funding needed to build the bypass, which would stretch from the A28 at Sturry, across to the A257 and then on to a new junction at the A2 at Bridge.

This long-talked-about bypass would allow cars to be removed from the inner ring road, to be replaced by dedicated cycle lanes and public transport links. This would address the city’s congestion problems, improve air quality and public health, and enhance Canterbury’s historic environment.

As well as setting out the ‘preferred growth scenario’, the options consultation also puts forward the council’s vision for the district as a whole up to 2040 and asks for views.

It is aiming for a stronger and more resilient economy with highly-skilled jobs, a range of high quality, low-carbon homes to meet the needs of the district and improve affordability, investment in digital infrastructure, tackling the challenges of climate change and supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.

Views on the council’s draft visions for all three urban areas would also be sought if councillors agree to put this latest stage of the Local Plan process out to consultation.

Leader of the council, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “It’s the issue that never goes away – build as few homes as possible but continue to overload our already-creaking infrastructure, or propose enough development to fund the infrastructure we actually need, now and in the future.

Canterbury is attempting to do the strategic planning heavy lifting that the County has failed to do for 20 years, well before structure plan were abolished. It always resisted new strategic locations for growth, mopping up for shortfalls in constrained West Kent and let the government do the heavy lifting on strategic transport links.

The previous local plan was also notorious for not really allocating any new land for housing at Canterbury. The southern/South Eastern expansion of Canterbury ended in the 1930s and Victorian conservation areas go top the City edge.

Canterbury suffers from a 1960s road solutions where traffic from West Kent passes right through the city centre and the A2 also acts as a southern bypass.

The obvious direction for growth would be to the South East where it could be served by a new train station and one existing. It avoids the North Downs, flood risk and heavily sloping and wooded areas. However here a bypass would funnel commuter traffic onto the A2, however it would anyway from existing connector road (old Dover Road) even without a bypass which does not have an all directions junction with the A2, It could become another of those schemes derided by Transport for New Homes, car orientated extensions funding a link road.

Is there an alternative? Yes. Much of the traffic has good alternatives to through paths through Canterbury, from Thanet through the trunk A28/A299 to the M2, from Sandwich and Deal. The A28 and A27 should be downgraded from strategic routes and Bekesbourne Lane upgraded to a more localised link road avoiding Canterbury. To avoid through traffic in Canterbury adopt the Grongingen solution, prevent through traffic on the ring road (especially next to the World Heritage Site) so it provides local access to the city centre only.

Develop a zero carbon community around Bekesbourne station and a new station to its West plus a BRT route to the CIty Centre on Old Dover Road, close off through traffic here west of the Park and Ride and dramtically extend the park and ride, which as an historic city makes sense here. P & R often dont make sense but in historic cities they often do as you have to throttle traffic passing to the city centre.

All of this would require a strategic plan for Kent driven by good high level masterplanning. Don’t hold your breath.

You get a very good view of the Cathedral Now