A conversation about the future of a footbridge over the Hayes railway line in Catford has been started by Team Catford. Team Catford works for Lewisham Council and they are supporting the Council’s appointed architect team – Studio Egret West and Carl Turner Architects – with public engagement. Studio Egret West were appointed for an initial ten month contract by Lewisham Council on 27th June 2018.
Team Catford proudly announce: “The Council has determined that a previously discussed option of a footbridge over the Hayes railway line between Doggett Road and Catford Green is unfeasible having carefully considered the complexities and costs associated with making such a crossing accessible. It is proposed that funding secured from the redevelopment of the former Catford Greyhound Stadium, which is now known as Catford Green, should be redirected to pedestrian improvements around Catford Bridge Station and Catford Station to create a safe and welcoming space. Lockdown has forced us to rethink how we get around and we have seen a shift towards more sustainable travel across London. Improvements to the station area will support those who choose to walk or cycle.”
Ladywell Live website quotes a Lewisham Council spokesperson: “The council said a replacement bridge had proved “unfeasible having carefully considered the complexities and costs associated with making such a crossing accessible.”
Local residents including Austen Jones, chair of Ravensbourne Park Gardens user group are campaigning for the footbridge he says: “The impact of this decision for all Catford Green and Adenmore Road homeowners will be to effectively sever this large, recently built development from the proposed and more direct access for both pedestrians and cyclists both in and out of Catford Centre.
Barratt London were obliged under reasonable s106 obligations to demolish the existing bridge link to the development site [which it did] and then cost out and deliver a replacement, mixed use bridge to make sense of the re-development by linking over the railway line closer to Catford Bridge station. Instead, a disputed variation to the s106 obligations has, so far, permitted Barratt London to simply pay a one off sum to the Council, which it now intends to use for other purposes.”
It is interesting to note that on 10th February 2016, Lewisham’s Executive Mayor Sir Steve Bullock approved a report that agreed that the footbridge should be built:
“(a) the current estimated shortfall in resources required to deliver the installation of a new pedestrian footbridge be forward funded as part of the Catford Stadium redevelopment. Capital reserves will be used to finance the expenditure prior to the anticipated receipt of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions; and
(b) the stipulated capital programme budget to meet the current estimated shortfall be approved in order for the scheme to proceed.”
The Section 106 Agreement was agreed at a meeting in public by Lewisham Council’s Strategic Planning Committee on 22nd March 2016. This meeting agreed the ‘construction of a replacement pedestrian footbridge incorporating lifts over the railway line between the site of the former Catford Greyhound Stadium Adenmore Road and Doggett Road, together with landscaping and associated works.’
However, no reports have been agreed by the current Executive Mayor and Cabinet to abandon the scheme. Nor have the Strategic Planning Committee been informed.