Building Bridges

Bit of a hooray! Boo! post today. We’ve all been waiting to see whether or not that Section 106 agreement that would see a footbridge linking the Greenwich and Deptford ends of Deptford Creek being built as part of the New Capital Quay development would be honoured. Well, anyone who visited HMS Ocean the other day will have seen that after years of bloomin’ nothing it’s finally beginning to take shape

and a lot of people have been asking if the footbridge might actually happen. Well, there is an application for one going through planning now, but it may not be quite what we had in mind.

The people I’ve been talking to have been assuming it would be a low, movable bridge, either in a swing or raised style, a bit like the ones going across the docks further up around Bermondsey/Rotherhithe, but this is neither – as you’ll see from the designs, they’ve gone for the cheaper, fixed version that just goes over the top of all the river traffic.

Some residents the other side at Millennium Quay aren’t happy about it because they’re worried it will be an intrusion on privacy – Sadia says “I have to say I am very concerned for the safety of the residents of millennium quay next to the bridge as the bridge will be right on top of us and pedestrians will be able to look straight into our flats! “and it does seem that the only artists’ impressions are from NCQ side (obviously – it’s being built by NCQ developers, they don’t care about what MQ people think; they don’t have to sell flats to them) so it’s hard to see just how close to people’s balconies it’s going to be.

Personally, it still feels a little far away from actual buildings to be very invasive of privacy – but it does seem to be quite invasive of view (though I guess you’d get a good view from it…)

I’m convinced they’ve gone for this version because it’s cheapest – something along the lines of the one Leonardo da Vinci designed – elegant and simply operated (though I guess I would worry about who would fix it if it went wrong or if it would it just be left open by boat users) would be wonderful, but pricey.

I certainly wouldn’t want to lose the opportunity of linking the two parts of the Thames Path with a footbridge – it’s something we’ve hankered for (and discussed at length) for years but I rather wish they’d gone for a simple swing or self-raising bridge like they have further upriver.

What do you think, guys? Is it going to be an eyesore and invasive for MV residents, or does the convenience of actually having a bridge at last trump looks?

the attachments to this post:

Bridge_Draft02 (low res)
Bridge_Draft02 (low res)

New Capital Quay
New Capital Quay

Bridge_Draft01 (low res)
Bridge_Draft01 (low res)

15 Comments to “Building Bridges”

  1. Mike Scott says:

    The bridges in Rotherhithe are mostly former swing bridges — they don’t open any more. A swing bridge with any significant traffic under it needs to be manned, which is far too expensive to be practical.

  2. Dazza says:

    With the history of lifts failing in Greenwich, how long before it breaks down and is only accessible to those younger and fitter who can climb the stairs???!!!

  3. Dave says:

    How does a a fixed bridge move or breakdown ?

  4. methers says:

    Dave – it’s the lifts either side which will will no doubt breakdown at some stage. They’re required for the less able, those with prams, buggies, heavy shopping, bikes, etc. Who will be responsible for looking after the lifts? Who will pay to fix them when there are problems?

    It’s the Port of London Authority who have blocked the proposal for an opening bridge here apparently. More on Cllr Pennycook’s blog:

  5. Fatty Fatty BumBum says:

    Gosh it is ugly isn’t it. Looks like a footbridge you’d have over a motorway, hardly particularly attractive given the location. However I am not sure of how else they could design it unless then spend LOTS of money making some kind of feature out of it, like the Peace Bridge in Derry. However on a brighter side, it would be great to have a link here.

  6. Dave says:

    Thanks Methers

  7. James says:

    T’would be a massive pain to get a bike over that.

  8. Angelic Rogue says:

    Well I like it, or rather; I don’t think it looks wholly unattractive. I regularly jog along the river front and every time I get to this stretch think it would be nice to have a link as oppose to going back to the main road (plus those stairs look like a nice workout in themselves). That said I can totally see the contention from residents, part of the areas charm is that it’s tucked away and perhaps this might be ruined with such a grandiose thoroughfare?

  9. Chris says:

    For crying out loud, an invasion of privacy??!!

    I live in a terraced house with windows that face the street. I shall insist that the pavement be closed so my privacy isn’t invaded.

    Sadia seems to be a little over the top in saying that residents’ safety will be compromised by the bridge.

  10. Phil says:

    I think it looks great. Hopefully the use of glass by the elevators will stop louts relieving themselves within them as is so often the case. Dazza makes a valid point though, who will maintain the lifts? Will it be high up on their priority list whoever it is?

    We’ve just moved here from the Royal Docks where there’s the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge that also has lifts. They usually smell of wee and when they break down, they’re usually repaired within a few days and that’s with the bridge being run by the Excel centre now who want it to work well for it’s many visitors so is quite high priority. If this bridge is run by the managing agents of the flats then it’ll likely be low priority and will end up in disrepair.

  11. Franklin says:

    I am hugely disappointed with the design – or, rather, the total lack of any design. The site calls for something iconic, elegant, striking. This is about as utilitarian and dull as it’s possible for a bridge to be. As Fatty Fatty Bum Bum says, this looks like a footbridge over the A2.

    Also, while entirely typical of Galliard, the blackmail of ‘we’ll only build the bridge if you let us build more flats’ is an affront. The original planning permission was granted SUBJECT TO the Section 106 agreement to build the bridge. It’s frankly appalling that they would now try to twist the Council’s arms to cram in yet more flats – particularly given the crap bridge that they’be “offered” when providing it is a statutory obligation.

    So I hope the Council throws out this application and forces them to come back with something more fitting and thoughtful – and forces them to do so without repeating the rapacious demand for more flat.

    But with the spineless and tasteless Council that has brought us the Cutty Sark oil bubble and the Las Vegas Nando’s-on-the-pier, I know that I’m whistling in the wind…

  12. Sadia says:

    I do agree that a bridge in principle would be great & I would love to pop over to the other side!! BUT please do take a wander down to the actual site and just picture how imposing the bridge will be, the pictures dont truely represent how much of the path it will block or how close to the buildings it will be!!!

  13. Alice says:

    I agree with everyone its dead ugly and such a wasted opportunity as the bridge could be a lovely feature. However on a practical level we really need to link up the two parts of the Thames path so something is better than nothing.

  14. Richc says:

    It need to be a non raised bridge like the one on creek road that opens for the minority of boats that need to pass through. There is someone manning the office on creek road. Surely the same person could be responsible for pressing the button to open this bridge at the same time. They could be electronically linked.

  15. PiratesPatch says:

    Greenwich NIMBY Alert!