Lawyers challenge Olympia bridge closure

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Lawyers challenge Olympia bridge closure

Thursday June 28, 2012


Photograph by Joshua Brown (used under Creative Commons Public Licence)

Council lawyers are challenging plans to close a footbridge over Kensington Olympia station on the basis that it is an established public right of way.

Transport for London (TfL) announced plans to install ticket barriers at the entrances to Olympia Overground station last week in a bid to tackle fare evasion.

However, the current TfL plans would mean that an established public right of way – between Russell Road and Olympia Way – would effectively be closed.

Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council backs TfL’s moves to target fare dodgers but argues that this should not be at the expense of residents in H&F and neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea.

The law says that for a route to be established as a public right of way there must be evidence that it has been used for at-least 20 years.

60 residents have now written to the council to say they have been using the footbridge as a pedestrian route for at-least 20 years and some residents have said they recall waving to troops, who were returning from Dunkirk, from the footbridge in 1939.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F Cabinet Member for Transport and Technical Services, says: “The council believes that there is strong evidence to prove that a public right of way exists over the Olympia footbridge.

“A large number of residents have written to say that they have used the bridge uninterruptedly for over twenty years and our lawyers are talking to TfL in the hope that common sense will prevail.”

The council argues that it would be possible to install the ticket barriers on the platforms so that they are nearer the tracks – which would maintain the right of way over the footbridge.

TfL have so far ignored the council’s advice and instead dreamt up a complicated permit system where some selected residents from the area will be allocated paper tickets coded to only work at the Olympia gates. Residents in a tightly designated area will need to prove their address and permits will not be issued to residents’ visitors or people from just outside the area.

TfL managers faced an angry backlash to the permit scheme, which would severely limit access to the bridge, at a meeting at the station last week.

Cllr Brocklebank-Fowler concludes: “We are urging TfL to re-think their whole approach and revisit the option to simultaneously maintain the public right of way and reduce fare evasion.”

Hare-brained plan to close Olympia footbridge news story»

» Send us your comments now

I have been using this bridge regularly, since 1984 when I first moved into the area. It''s an important right of way between Hammersmith and Kensington and should stay open. TFL should install proper ticket machines that work. They can also place barriers to the platforms that do not affect the bridge.
From no on 10/07/2012 at 18:12
We've already had our weekday tube service removed and now they want to punish us further by removing fair access to a very well used bridge. I have only lived in the area for around three years, but in that time, have used the bridge on a regular basis. The bridge is far safer during the evening due to being so well lit and providing quicker access from the 49 and C1 buses. Don't understand why they don't spend the money giving someone a job rather than creating more automation. Fingers crossed the council wins out!
From KD on 09/07/2012 at 17:04
Network Rail has many examples where a footbridge has shared but isolated facilities for ticket holders and general public crossing the tracks. Such an arrangement is not impossible.
From M I Watts on 09/07/2012 at 15:59
I have used the footbridge since 1984 to get from Blythe Road to Russell Road. Walking is the best London transport and TfL should not stop walkers to promote their moneymaking scheme. Is it not enough that they have closed our tube? It is about cash or they would pay staff to check tickets like any responsible business. TfL - a bullying moneygrabbing monopoly
From Olympia on 09/07/2012 at 10:33
Please keep the bridge open! Pedestrians are already hemmed in on all sides by the major roads. Walking is officially encouraged, so TFL should do everything in its power to enable pedestrian access.
From Brook Green Resident on 09/07/2012 at 09:25
A public right of way is for all, residents, visitors and casual passers-by. It''s also a safer route for many, than having to go the longer way round to the busy main Hammersmith Road.
From Franklin on 07/07/2012 at 09:17
I do not live in the area but mostly work within the area on daily basis and at some times had to cross the bridge not less than 4 times a day. How will it applies to me in this instance. I agree with the fact that it is a public path and should remain as such. We have been paying more than neccessary for tfl with all those touch in and not touch outs
From Bees on 07/07/2012 at 01:53
I have been using this bridge to get to Olympia exhibition halls since 1999 when I did my first fair there. I am a K&C resident so I park on that side and walk over. Recently, aware that the bridge is up for closure, I have parked and walked around. It takes longer, and tires me out more than climbing and descending the steps does. What concerns me much more is that London Transport no longer has a regular District Line service to the station and so to the exhibition halls; this is greatly impacting numbers attending the exhibitions. This is not good for business in West London and something needs to be done about it.
From jpruskin on 06/07/2012 at 22:02
This proposal is a disgrace. To force residents to go via arterial roads instead of a community footpath that connects a park and residential areas. The Crime & Disorder Act forbids proposals which encourage crime, and by removing this footbridge that breaks down a social barrier would lead to footfall, and an increase in the perception of crime. TfL should be building more footbridges to help mobility, and encourage inter connected economic improvements.
From Local Resident for thirty years on 06/07/2012 at 19:27
I have lived close to Olympia station since 1972 and have regularly used the overbridge as a useful route between West Kensington and Holland Park. In the 90s this was the best way of getting my children to the playground in Holland Park, thus avoiding a heavy traffic route along Ken High Street. It''s ridiculous for tfl to consider closing this useful thoroughfare.
From LH on 06/07/2012 at 16:46
This bridge is a very important link across the rail track. I am shocked to read they might get rid of it as a general passageway!
There must be a way to work this out that makes more sense than permits. Everyone even tourists should be allowed to use it to cross the railway.

I notice the staff at the station never asks to see tickets, for example they could check for tickets of everyone on the platform.
From B.D on 06/07/2012 at 16:02
This bridge should not be closed.
If TfL wants to save money it should invest in new barrier NOT shut a public footpath.
From tim day on 06/07/2012 at 15:50

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