Residents Unhappy About Kew Bridge Arch Changes
St. George's plan for walkway on fails to offer accessibility for disabled
Local residents are unhappy about Planning Committee decision to make alterations to the walkway under Kew Bridge on the north side known as Arch 2. They say it does not offer sufficient access to disabled people or those with prams or buggies.
The developers, St George have the lease on Arch 3 (rented from TfL) under Kew Bridge and as part of the gain package for the recent development next to the bridge, St George agreed to examine and fund a modification of the current footpath, which runs under the bridge. It has 2 flights of steps making it impassable for wheel chairs and difficult for prams or bikes.
The aim of the modification was to make it step-free. The plans submitted to achieve this were rejected and they then asked for permission to carry out various cosmetic improvements to the existing stepped access.
The alterations agreed consist of mounting railing alongside the steps, onto which anti-slip strips would be added and a new lamp post (Knightsbridge model) placed on the eastern side of the walkway.
Comments were received at the meeting that the alterations did not offer level access and were therefore not fully accessible and that an alternative would be to open up Arch 3 instead, as proposed by the Strand on The Green Association (SoGA). Access via the arch would require consultation with the landowners, an impact assessment on the bridge which is Grade II listed and a flooding assessment. At present flood boards are there to prevent flooding but in the case of public access this would not be sufficient.
SOGA said, "This application proposal does nothing to improve access under Kew Bridge for wheelchairs or mothers with buggies and is therefore discriminatory to that section of the population."
SOGA had proposed an alternative plan which would have required consent from the Environment Agency on the basis that flood defences would have to be protected and flood risk not increased. SOGA had wanted the application by St George refused as it felt there was cause for St George to explore the alternative of opening Arch 3 allowing for a full pedestrian and wheeled throughway.
At the Planning Committee Malcolm Wood, of St George's, spoke in favour of the application and Richard Griffith of Strand on the Green Residents Association spoke against.
The planning application was successful with a vote of 10:2 in favour, with Cllrs Lambert and Lee against and Cllr Louki abstaining. A condition was added that the anti-slip strips would be yellow or white rather than the proposed black.
July 8, 2016