Footbridge over the River Thames to Hampton Court Park.

15 years ago...

A couple of weeks ago, I was cycling back along the river from Hampton Court to Kingston, and it struck me that Hampton Court park is a pleasant and underused resource, geographically close to Surbiton but a pain to get to.

I think it would be a good idea to build a footbridge at Raven's Ait to allow access to the other side of the river.

What do you think?


funny, I had the same idea, for the same reasons.

Some of you may have seen the proposed development at the Surbiton filter beds sight by Hydro Properties. The projects seems very ambitious but it occured to me that this could be an ideal opportunity to try and push for a footbridge. The developer could be asked to partially take care of the cost and the location is already earmarked for potential develeopment.

Hydroproperties should propose and pay for this as part of the filter beds development.

It would be a shrewd move for Hydro Properties if they supported the building of a new footbridge as part of any revised plans for the filter beds site. This would show they are really committed to giving something back to the community and would definitely swing public and political opinion in favour of the development.

I think a footbridge across the Thames from Surbiton would be a fantastic idea. Hampton Court Park is frustratingly close yet we need to go all the way out to Kingston or Hampton Court bridges to get across the river. I have often thought about this myself and then came across this old post. Perhaps if there's enough interest/demand for such a bridge, it may become a reality some day. Does anyone else think this it’s a good idea?

There should be a ferry operating from Harts to the other side all summer. However the company running the ferry have been rather lazy. Also a ferry used to run at weekends from the Albany in Thames Ditton, whatever happened to that.

Now that Taggs boatyard is closing it is less likely there will be any services.

Keep things as they are, we don't want everybody going there and messing the place up.

Agreed, cyclists and runners one side, normal people the other would work quite well.

Taggs is closing? Is that just the one they operate from Harts Boatyard or the one down in Thames Ditton as well?

The guy who runs it seems to have a very strange attitude to making money. I wouldn't like to suggest any impropriety, but those day boats are a potential goldmine and you could make £500 a day running a ferry in the summer paying somebody a few pounds an hour to run it.

The Thames Ditton boatyard is being flattened to build luxury flats.

With regards to making money, I feel ineptitude would be a better accusation to level against the previous owner.

Definitely, a sad sunset for the Tagg's family name on the Thames.

Absolutely! If there is one improvement that I would make to Surbiton this would be it.

I live very close to the river, so it would be of particular benefit to me, but I think most in Surbiton would be in favour of this.

It would turn Surbiton from a great place to live into the perfect one. Already we benefit from a short walk to a very fast train service into London, a 1 minute walk to the River Thames and a 15 minute walk into a major shopping and entertainment centre whilst retaining a fairly quiet atmosphere.

The one thing that is missing is large open green space. There are a few small parks near the town centre (Claremont, Victoria etc) and Richmond, Bushy and Home Parks are local, but certainly not within easy walking distance.

If all of these advantages could be complemented by being only a couple of minutes walk from over 2000 acres of parkland (Home Park and Bushy Park combined), then I would really struggle to think of anywhere better to live. OK, there is always Richmond, but it is a lot more expensive!

Unfortunately, I think this is very unlikely to happen in these times of austerity. It would be interesting to see if this is something that the residents would contribute to the cost of. I would definitely be prepared to give generously to this.

See link below for a recent precedent for a footbridge in West Sussex.. A contract to build a new footbridge in Shoreham, West Sussex has recently been awarded. The cost is £4MM and is being funded by the council along with Sustrans the sustainable transport charity.

I couldn't find the dimensions of the bridge anywhere but below is a link to a photo of the existing bridge (which is being replaced by the new bridge). It seems the lenght of the bridge wouldn't be too disimilar to what would be looking at for a footbridge over the Thames at Surbiton.

This gives a very crude indication of potential costs but also highlights that funding is available for sustainable projects if there is enough demand.

I agree with others on this, having just been in to homepark for the first time yesterday. Sadly I think that this will not happen, not only because of the costs, but the bridge would have to enable passage of the ferrys and the height of the masts on the sailing boats that are unique to surbiton.

I don't think the height of boats that would need to pass under the bridge is a major obstacle. It would need to allow at least as much clearance as Kingston and Hampton Court Bridges.

Funding will certainly be an issue but if the demand is there, the idea could gain traction. Priority is being given to projects that encourage cycling/walking rather than using motor vehicles and a footbridge will definitely reduce the number of car journies across the river.


Perhaps a regular, reliable ferry service from Harts Boatyard across to the towpath would be a viable answer? Like in Venice...

It should be possible as long as control is taken away from the lazy so and so that currently runs it.

I have often waited for 5-10 minutes and he has refused to come across to pick up 3 or 4 people. At £1 a person (tax free) you would have thought it would be a nicer little earner!

I've always though t about buying him a remote controlled doorbell. In reference to the boats, the sailing boats at Thames Sailing Club have 45ft masts to get the breeze from over the tall trees.

My suggestion would be to have a two part bridge, using Ravens Ait as a half way point. Perhaps going from the landing point car park ...

Although the best solution would be to have a reliable boat service.

Remote control doorbell is a great idea, but would not make any difference in this case. I have seen people waiting on the jetty on the Surbiton side for 10 minutes before giving up. If he doesn't fancy it, he won't go.

I think that a bridge is a better solution even than a reliable boat service. It takes all of the hassle and cost out of it. If you want to go over there for a 30 minute run after work, you'd probably think twice about it if it meant getting a boat, paying £1 each way and possibly missing the last boat back. Even if the boat is reliable, it would still take 10 minutes to get there and back once you include the queuing/waiting time etc.

With a bridge, you would be over there in 30 seconds, and not have any worries about getting back.

Of course, it costs a lot to get it built.....

Well, if the council are involved, then they should make the thing bright bloody yellow so blind people don't walk into it. (Like they've done with the railings along the promenade .. who's stupid H&S idea was that?)

Hello all, The condition of the developement should be to provide a swing bridge/Bridge that can be alterred for boats with masts. I call upon all you lovely surbitonites to make this so. Go to the meetings and express this need for a bridge. We could have something really amazing here - take the opportunity that is being suggested. I do not accept it being a cost issue. A marina, a place to eat and picnic area ALL EXIST within a mile radius of this site. Deasign idea's could be provided by Kingston uni students, local people - even a competition could get the ball rolling. having lived here all my years the thames filtration beds have never been improved/developed. it is long over due. Vote bridge locals.

p.s 'poppy' i love your work on here. keep free. (this is not the timesonline wind your neck in)

This would be a clever way to invest recent funds adquired from Boris to improve cyclist routes across Kingston

A cycle/foot bridge over the River Thames to Hampton Court Park from Surbiton would count on with plenty of support from the whole comunity.
This would allow many cyclists to cross the bridge and enjoy the whole riverside including Bushy park. Cyclists could cross back to North Kingston to enjoy Richmond and the other side of the riverside without the need of going through Kingston towncenter.
I have friends with kids, and they don't like the idea of cycling with their kids by Portsmouth Road.

If anybody knowa how to propose this formally to the council, let us know....

The foot/cycle bridge idea WAS taken forward by Kingston council as part of the successful £30M Go Dutch competition victory. After investigations, the consulting engineers and council dropped the idea because the clearance needed for the extra tall Thames class yachts meant that the bridge would have to be very high, and the approach ramps would have been very long.

I remember seeing a diagram/illustration of just how big the ramp would have to be in the council's bid document. I can't remember if cost, and value for money in terms of cycling was a barrier or not.

There was also mention in the same document of a cycle/pram/wheelchair footbridge over the railway to enhance access to Surbiton town centre from Oakhill, and to the new school & clinic in the reverse direction. I can't remember if it was approved, or not. I do know there 's been separate talk about improving Surbiton station access by putting a lift on the Oakhill side of the station. That might be a cheaper solution that rules out the need for a bridge.

I might have a link to the bid document. Will post if I do.

This is the most important missing amenity for Surbiton/Kingston riverside. The vast majority of the boats that pass are not very tall. When sat in Harts watching there are lots of small masted dinghies. Should the large number of cyclists and walkers be denied by a few high masted sailors? They only have between Kingston and Hampton Court bridges to navigate anyway. It's hardly the Sydney to Hobart race.
The car less bridges in Prague, Florence Dublin etc are fantastic attractions in their own right.
The link to the Hampton/Bushey bank will alleviate the need to extend the riverside walk past the filter beds and Thames Ditton Marina.
Three years ago an attractive Norwegian made wooden suspension bridge was built over the Rio Verde between Port Banus and the Marbella seaside walk. It cost 500,000 Euros but our one would probably be bigger and cost £1m. Small change compared to the cost of running the Rosé theatre with a much higher usage factor. The Boris Bike Bridge must live!

Please stop using the preface 'Boris', e.g. Boris Bike, etc... You are falsely attributing incentives to that foppish twit.

Your costs are massively out, i'd say by a factor of 6/7. Look at vosts of the sustrans bridge mentioned a few years ago in this thread

Two words: Swing Bridge.

We get our bridge and the tall ships get there chance to go through as well. You could build a 2 part bridge as well - so a permanent bridge to ravens ait, then a swing/boom bridge from there to the north bank.

IT is not hard. RBK?

I'd expect the peak pedestrian/cyclist and peak sailing use to both be at the weekend. How would that obvious conflict be managed? I can't imagine the sailing club being happy about having to call ahead, say from Ditton island, to get the bridge opened. And given the lead time needed needed, I could foresee the bridge being closed for significant percentage of the time at weekends.

In principle, the idea of favoring the many at the expense of the few it's attractive, but the sailing club is very long established and has got a long historical connection with this stretch of the thames. There's no way they'd go quietly, and being very well connected, they'd pull every string they could to stop the bridge. Regardless of the greater good for Surbonites.

I have heard before how formidable the 'Tall Sailing Boat' objectors are but I just don't understand why.
They would only lose a stretch of river from the new bridge to Kingston Bridge, say 600m of which 300m has tall poplar trees shielding the wind.
I very much enjoy watching all the sail boats on the river, particularly as they don't spew out the highly carcinogenic exhaust fumes that they and the wildlife have to contend with from powered craft.
There has to be a deal involving improving their facilities and funding the switch to shorter masts.
A two stage bridge to Ravens Ait is a no brainier, bringing that into accessible use.
Harts is rammed at the mearest hint of a sunny afternoon so The Ait, with all round views would clean up.
The cost of the Port Banus bridge is correct and ours will be more but its only timber prefabricated off site.
(Ok, I know the London Dome 'tent' cost a £billion but this is much more manageable.
I reckon the HSBC tramp's new protege could raise the money in a couple of weeks).
They have a very good solution to cycle and wheel chair ramps. The wood is a reddish colour similar to the Golden Gate Bridge.
I wonder if the Queen owns the towpath on the Hampton Park side?

just wondering if anything further has happened on this since?

It would be great to see the proposal documents that went to Kingston council if any.

I still just want to see something happen with the area and love the idea of a pedestrian bridge but would also like to see all the old filter beds opened up for people to explore and enjoy as well..

On Hackney canal, people have started waterboarding. Maybe we could paddle board across or have a zip wire? Or another set of cable cars like in the Docklands. Lol.

....also, many people operating locks are volunteers. Could boat loving people get involved.


Whilst I love the idea of a footbridge, it seems that really the easiest thing to do is to put our focus on having a little reliable passenger ferry ride of some kind. Especially as that is kind of inplace already. Can we speak to the council about that? What are the limitations? Can we find solutions? Could another riverside pub or venue offer this service?

I'd agree that this is the only realistically workable solution. I can't see the council funding a footbridge given the financial problems they have got themselves into.

The current 'ferry service' is a bit of joke as it only seems to run when the owner can be bothered - for that read virtually never.

On the other side of the argument, I wonder how much demand there would be for a better-run solution. Ideally, this would be run for a few hours in the morning, another couple at lunchtime and a few early evening on summer weekdays, all day on summer weekends and less in the winter.

Would enough people actually use it to justify those hours? If the hours were much less then people would be reticent to use it in case they missed the return ferry and had to take a much longer walk back.

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