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New Thames bridge proposed in Surrey to link Hampton Court with Lower Sunbury

Shorter journeys, safer routes and joined up national cycle trails just some of the benefits of new cycle and foot bridge

A residents’ group in Surrey has commissioned a feasibility report into a new footbridge over the Thames which they say will encourage people to cycle and walk, and allow quicker journeys.

Lower Sunbury Residents’ Association (LOSRA) has looked into a cycle and foot bridge to Walton, which would avoid a trip to Walton or Hampton Court bridges.

The group say it would allow safer and shorter, non-polluting journeys to work, schools and recreation’ - and some of the proposed sites are The Weir, Flower Pot Green, Church Street, King’s Lawn, and Rivermead Island.

John Hirsh, honorary vice-chairman of LOSRA, told Get Surrey: “We have had a 10.1% increase in population since the census in 2001 and we believe this is a good thing.

“There are young families moving in to the area.

“The Thames Path National Trail is a great amenity but it’s not easy for us to get to.

“Most people end up putting their bike onto cars and driving to it.”

There will be public exhibitions showcasing the bridge from next Sunday at the Riverside Arts Centre in Thames Street, Sunbury, and there is a website explaining the plans and inviting comment here.

Mr Hirsh said: “The results will be harvested and gone through to find out what people would prefer.

“When I spoke to Surrey Highways, there was a view that you never know when a funding stream will become available.

“The next stage for us is to look for fundraising opportunities. It should be of interest to the political parties because it will encourage cycling and reduce car journeys.”

The group has not yet costed the bridge project.

It is not yet known how much a bridge would cost.

Former Olympian Alan Pascoe MBE, who lives in Sunbury, said: “The River Thames is one of our greatest assets, but it’s also a barrier between places where people live, work and take their leisure.

"LOSRA believes a car-free bridge would be of enormous benefit to a wide area north and south of the river. It would mean safer and shorter, non-polluting journeys to work, schools and recreation.”

Last month we reported how more than 70 submissions for the design of a cycling and pedestrian bridge linking Nine Elms and Pimlico in south west London have been whittled down to a shortlist of just four, announced this week.

Unlike the controversial Garden Bridge further upstream between Temple and the South Bank championed by actress Joanna Lumley, the one planned by Wandsworth Borough Council is intended to be a transport route, rather than a tourist attraction.

The initial designs revealed last month were deliberately kept anonymous to give up-and-coming engineers and architects a chance to compete for the winning design - but the firms behind the four announced today are all hard-hitters in their field.

And late last year a proposed bridge across the Thames for cyclists and pedestrians between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf was declared “worth looking at in more detail,” according to the government’s National Infrastructure Plan (NIP).

Proposals for the bridge were first announced in 2006 by Sustrans. The plan seemed to have been dropped, but recently the sustainable transport charity said it would be launching a competition for a new design.

In October, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, responding to a question from Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, said “I do agree there should be a crossing in that area.”

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