Victory For Chiswick Park Footbridge Campaign
As Hounslow Council clears the way for bridge to be built
Campaigners for the Chiswick Park pedestrian bridge, which will relieve pressure on Gunnersbury Tube Station, have learned that the way has now been cleared for the project to commence. Construction should begin in 2016 and be complete by 2017.
A delegated decision is expected to be taken by lead member of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran next week (July 6th), stating that "in principle that the Council should enter into arrangements with the Chiswick Business Park and Network Rail for the adoption and maintenance of the proposed footbridge from the northern end of the park to Colonial Drive, in London Borough of Ealing."
The move has been welcomed as a victory for the campaigners, including former MP Mary Macleod.
Mary Macleod with transport minister Claire Perry and campaigners at the site
Mary said:" I set up the Gunnersbury Station Action Team to show how important this issue is and to ensure progress is made in finding solutions, so it is good that we are now seeing the results of the hard work of the group. In our recent meeting, Cllr Peter Thompson, former leader of Hounslow Council, took over as Chairman of The Gunnersbury Station Action Team. He will continue to push the Council to urgently work with Network Rail and get the footbridge in place as soon as possible.”
Ruth Cadbury MP was also involved pursuading the leaders of Hounslow and Ealing Councilsto intervene to break the log jam over who should adopt the bridge after its construction. You can read the background to the decision by Cllr Curran.
The footbridge, which will extend from Chiswick Business Park to Chiswick Park Station, allowing business park employees access to the tube station, was considered urgent by the campaign group because Building Seven, the final business at the Chiswick Park, is due to be occupied later this year- this means that potentially 12,000 employees at the development could be using Gunnersbury Station, which is already overcrowded and in need of upgrading.
The bridge will mean ease of access for commuters from the northern end of the business park, to Colonial Drive where they can use Chiswick Park tube station thus taking the pressure off Gunnersbury.
Blackstone, the owners of the business development, had recently been able to agree a new plan for the maintenance of the bridge with Hounslow Council after years of delays. However, developers were not able to start construction on the much needed footbridge without permission from Network Rail and other land owners, such as Transport for London.
A commuted sum would be required from the developer to help contribute towards future maintenance, inspection and other costs. Based on the proposed design and construction of the bridge this has been estimated as £1.262m. It has been agreed in principle with the developer to take this payment in eleven annual instalments of £90,000 plus a one off pump priming 2 sum of £272,000, rather than as a single lump sum.
The agreement commits the Council to the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the structure. The costs for maintenance of the bridge and replacement after its 120 year lifespan is included within the £1.262m commuted sum payable to the Council from the bridge’s developer (Chiswick Business Park). If the commuted sum is accurate adopting the bridge will not impact on the Council’s budgets for the life of the bridge and its replacement.
June 26, 2015