Friday, August 31, 2007

Update on the North Sheen station footbridge

Last year, following my posts on the footbridge at North Sheen station, the office of Susan Kramer emailed me back the options considered by Network Rail.

As a reminder, the issue is that North Sheen has just a single footbridge and that pedestrians (and car) have to wait at the level crossing if they come from the Southern side of Manor road. Now, in any civilised country I've ever been to, a tunnel or a bridge would have been built to remove a level crossing in a dense urban fabric. Given the fact it is taking over 20 years to build a vital link such as Crossrail, I doubt this will happen in North Sheen so I've moved onto suggesting more pragmatic actions to remove the need for pedestrians to wait at the crossing. There is a serious safety implication, as there are no less than 5 schools within half a mile and kids just jump the barriers to cross.

You will find below those options, verbatim. My views are that the third option is interesting however it would make the access to the station even more concealed and difficult to find, however it would be easier to drop off passengers. We could even dream of a bike parking there to encourage carbon friendly commuting (would require CCTV surveillance to deter thieves).

Additionally and a more radical option would be a double bridge at the Eastern end of the platform. On the South side, this could link Sheen Court and/or Upper Richmond road respectively via the allotments and via Holy Trinity school (this would require to extend the pathway through the side of the school and along Sheen Court. Is is relevant here to note that Sheen court has 200 flats and Courtlands opposite is a similarly dense development, both currently have to walk a detour to go to the station -and be stuck at the crossing for up to 15 mn.

On the North side, this could link Manor grove, providing access to the neighbourhood around Bicester road, Somerton avenue and Lambert avenue -again a denser development.

This would give North Sheen three accesses and make quite a difference for local residents and encourage commuting by train. Then more than four trains per hour would be nice, but that's another story.


North Sheen Station – Summary of Draft Options

Network Rail, following appeals by local residents and elected figures, is exploring possible options to address the widespread misuse of the level crossing at North Sheen Station.

The options are in discussion stage and Network Rail would like the views of local residents and elected figures before developing any option beyond this initial point. (NB: No specific costs/ funding sources have been identified.)

Option 1 – Extension of footbridge to connect with the old pathway and relocation of the signalling box blocking access to this pathway.


  • Add an extending arm to the footbridge relatively in-expensive

  • Open up the old pathway to access the south of the level crossing


  • Relocation of the signalling equipment and reintegration with local signalling systems.

  • Closure of the railway line

  • Timescale of the work likely to be lengthy

  • All enhancements (i.e. new infrastructure on the railway) need to be DDA compliant.

Note: So, why did they remove the bridge in the first place then?

Option 2 - Install a completely new footbridge on the west side of the level crossing


  • Provision of crossing point for those south of the level crossing.

  • Could be used by all pedestrians on Manor Road.


  • Possible interference with the sight-lines of train drivers approaching the crossing

  • All enhancements (i.e. new infrastructure on the railway) need to be DDA compliant.

  • The western side of the crossing has residential buildings.

Option 3 – Extension of the footbridge to the old path, connection of the old path with a new route through the allotments.


  • Extension of the footbridge and reinstating the old path relatively in-expensive

  • No need to move critical signalling equipment


  • Purchase of land from the allotments

  • New path next to residential properties (lights etc)

  • All enhancements (i.e. new infrastructure on the railway) need to be DDA compliant.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Garden road redevelopment

It is quite fascinating how a council such as Richmond can behave. Residents between Chalkers Corners and Manor Circus have recently been addressed a letter by a developper suggesting the area close to Garden Road will be redevelopped for industrial use and possibly waster processing.
I must add that the tone of the letter was deliberately alarming.

This area behind Richmond fire station is currently home to a dairy plant, some warehouses and a removals company.

The letter was good though because it drew residents to a meeting which otherwise would have gone un-noticed. Sneaky politics?

After the brouhaha, the council sent us a letter saying the redeveloppment won't be for heavy waste management....

Here are my questions to them, what do you think?

Dear Sirs,

  • Having received your letter dated 17/8/07, about the redevelopment of the are between Market road and Orchard road. I hereby would like to share my comments:

    1. Type of business
    You imply the new development will be business or light industries. There are already un-occupied office premises on Lower Richmond road so it seems the area is not short of office space.
    What is the rationale of Richmond Council to encourage light-industries as opposed to housing?

    2. Parking
    The area is already quite stretched in terms of parking space, in particular we are concerned by the office block at the corner between Clifford avenue and Lower Richmond road not having provision for parking spaces. Will the council add the provision of decent parking space for this redevelopment?

    3. Green spaces
    The local development plan mentions the area has not enough green open spaces. We would like to have your comments on how this redevelopment is going to address this.

    4. Safety
    As opposed to housing which is occupied 24/7, light industrial premises are vacant at nights and week-ends.
    Is the council going to provision extra police forces to make sure that this redevelopment is going to stay safe?



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