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The Thames Promenade, A new green link from Barnes to Chiswick

A passionate team of residents has a vision to restore the unused Victorian rail bridge spanning the Thames between Barnes and Chiswick and transform it into a garden walkway linking the two neighbourhoods.

The Thames Promenade will be a haven for wildlife, providing horticultural interest for children and adults alike as well as promoting biodiversity. It is a truly grassroots project with expertise in developing the green corridor provided by charitable organisations, small businesses and volunteers drawn from the local community.

They would be responsible for the planting and maintenance of the site under a Friends of Thames Promenade group, under the aegis of Barnes Common Association (BCA). This initiative is the brainchild of a long-time resident of Barnes, Peter Banks who has a background in property development and has been responsible for a number of major developments across London and Surrey. His passion for restoring the historic Barnes Bridge has resulted in this project which he is now driving forward with a local team and the BCA.

One world design architects are assisting at the early stages of the design process and initial thoughts are as follows:

  • Planting of shrubs and trees kept to areas immediately above river piers and based on installation of planters (for loading/structural reasons)
  • Screen wall between live railway line and new promenade to prevent trespassers etc. This is shown here as a planted screen/living wall.
  • The existing metal clad upstand to the riverside can be removed and replaced with a glass balustrade to allow greater views for all (children and wheelchair users) and from further back along the bridge – this will also make the bridge appear lighter from the riverbank
  • Lighting will be an important consideration – LED’s in the floor surface, balustrade or lighting bollards can react to movement and change colour as desired. The lighting can be set up so that as someone moves across the bridge the way ahead is lit at the same speed they are travelling and the trail behind fades to a different colour – this helps those about to cross the bridge at night understand if someone is there and which direction they are travelling in.
  • Trees may need to be chosen so that their branches start at above 1600mm – 2m, so that natural surveillance across the area can be established, and shrubs kept to small scale.

The existing bridge is a grade 2 listed structure, and has 3 components – the central 2 track railway bridge which has a separate and later attached (strapped to the side of the original structure) pedestrian and cycle crossing to the east and a separate disused railway line to the west which shares the river piers but is a later addition and has separate structural spans.

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