The £3 million scheme would see the Victorian Grade II-listed Barnes Bridge turned into a public amenity, according to AJ’s sister publication New Civil Engineer. The View project is backed by a panel of local residents, who are in discussions with Network Rail and Richmond Council.
The proposals are reminiscent of the doomed Garden Bridge project, which was backed by Boris Johnson while mayor of London and cost taxpayers £43 million before being scrapped by his successor Sadiq Khan.
Barnes Bridge was completed in 1849 to designs by engineer Joseph Locke but taken out of service in 1895 when a replacement bridge, designed by engineer Edward Andrews, opened right next to it.
Under the Moxon proposals, the abandoned cast-iron structure would be restored, while landscaping and street furniture would be added to its deck.
It comes as construction nears completion for Moxon’s Dukes Meadow Footbridge, which is being built under Barnes Bridge for Hounslow Council. Hounslow is the local authority for the area north of Barnes Bridge, while Richmond is the local authority south of the bridge.
In a statement, Moxon said: ‘The scheme will give visitors and locals a chance to enjoy a unique communal space over the River Thames.
‘The new linear park will extend in both directions to complete a green corridor over the river. It will connect with existing and proposed routes including the soon-to-be-completed Dukes Meadow Footbridge to the north.’
The southern approach path would give step-free access to Barnes Bridge railway station platforms, the practice added.
Project backers, led by resident Peter Banks and Barnes town centre manager Emma Robinson, said the project was inspired by High Line schemes in New York and Camden.
‘It will connect Barnes in Richmond and Chiswick in Hounslow via a stunningly attractive landscaped green space,’ they added.
‘It’ll give an unbeatable viewing position on Boat Race day and every rowing event throughout the year as well as a year-round view of the river and the setting sun.’
Works required to deliver the project include repositioning of high-voltage cables that power existing rail services, removal of rotten timber beams and installation of steel decking.
Lighting and an irrigation system for plants would be created along with fencing to protect tracks from leaves. A metal parapet would also be replaced with transparent material while a Victorian turnstile would be retained and restored.
Backers said they were seeking a formal agreement with Network Rail as well as both Hounslow and Richmond councils before starting fundraising for the project. They are targeting an opening date of 2026.
A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘We’re working closely with the Barnes Community Association and Richmond Borough Council to help them bring the disused side of Barnes Bridge back to life.
‘While it does not carry trains, it is an important part of our operational estate, carrying signalling, power cable and other fixed infrastructure. Diversion of those cables is a complex and very expensive operation and, consequently, one of the key tasks we face is to find an effective way of protecting our critical infrastructure that’s also affordable for the association.
‘Separately, we have been in conversations with the local council and the association about agreeing terms for the future use of the bridge as well as safeguarding its future maintenance or repair. It’s great that this project has taken a fresh step forward and we look forward to taking the next steps together.’
Richmond Council said it ‘welcomed the plans’.