The closure of Hammersmith Bridge is wreaking havoc on our local communities. Fellow residents, local school pupils and businesses in the area of North Barnes have been significantly impacted since the pedestrian and cycle crossings were closed without warning following concerns over the safety and integrity of the structure.
Whilst the local council has promised to work towards an ambitious target of establishing a ferry service by the end of October, the government taskforce has indicated that a procurement process to secure public funding could mean that a ferry service is delayed until early 2021. We’re looking to raise funds from the local community to push this target forwards, so that we can get a ferry service in place as soon as possible.
We want to provide a temporary means for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the river at Hammersmith until such time as the bridge can be repaired. We want to launch an amphibious passenger ferry service, capable of operating at all states of tide whilst Hammersmith Bridge is closed. We are looking to achieve this with minimal installation of infrastructure, which will enable us to deliver this within the shortest possible timescale.
Hammersmith Bridge is situated within the Port of London, and spans a fast-flowing section of the tidal Thames. Twice daily, when the tide goes out, most of the riverbed is exposed and the navigable water spans just 70m of the 200m width of river; depths are reduced from 7m+ at high tide to little more than 1m at low tide.
As such, it's impossible to get a traditional ferry-boat from shore to shore for a significant proportion of each day when the tide is out. This means that substantial piers would need to be built out from the embankments, extending almost into the middle of the river (an exceptionally costly and complicated endeavour), else boats would be unable to dock for a significant proportion of each day.
We would like to utilise amphibious passenger vessels, designed specifically for operating in environments where pier and pontoon access is limited. This will enable us to provide a step-free ferry service – for the local community, including school children, shoppers, commuters, families, wheelchair-users and cyclists - that is capable of operating a full service at all states of tide.
Led by local commercial skipper and Barnes resident Steffan Ciccotti, we have pulled together a strong multi-disciplinary team – including commercial boat operators, engineers and naval architects – to work on this project. We are already engaged in productive discussions with key stakeholders and partners, including the borough councils of Hammersmith & Fulham and Richmond upon Thames, the Port of London Authority, and the Environment Agency, to establish the best way of ensuring that this project can be delivered as quickly as possible.
A new ferry service at Hammersmith Bridge will require extensive permissions from both local councils and the Port of London Authority. We have submitted detailed proposals and our ferry solution is being considered for public funding. Whilst we have been assured that any planning applications will be looked upon favourably and expedited where appropriate, we also know that there are certain processes which will necessarily take time to accomplish properly in order to ensure passenger, environmental and river safety.
The funds that we are looking to raise during this initial planning application stage will enable us to begin work on the following tasks:
- Environmental Impact Assessments for the embarkation sites that we propose to use
- Specialist Navigational Risk Assessments for our proposed operations
- Engineering and structural surveys in preparation for the installation of proposed infrastructure
- Consultations and planning applications (where required) with LPAs
If we await public funding before even beginning to work on these planning tasks, the infrastructure construction phase and operational delivery timelines will inevitably be delayed significantly.
By progressing our planning applications now, we can look to seek alternative 2nd stage infrastructure funding to potentially establish a ferry service within a matter of weeks, rather than months.
Funds used to cover the costs of this initial planning stage will be a sunk cost and therefore not refundable. However, we will ensure that any surplus campaign funds are invested in either the bridge restoration project, or put towards expediting another ferry solution.
What do I get in return for backing this project?
You can pledge your support for this project by committing to back our planning application stage with any level of funding, from as little as £1! For backers who pledge £50 or greater, we are offering vouchers*, later redeemable against passenger fares ifour proposed amphibious ferry service is established.
* Each voucher will be non-refundable and will have a nominal cash value of £0.00001.
In the event that there are unforeseen circumstances which force us to cease work on delivering this project after gaining the funding to undertake the planning stage, we would ask that any purveyor of alternative river crossings at Hammersmith would honour these fare vouchers for the benefit of the community, and in return we would grant access to all research, consultations, surveys, and deliverables that had been undertaken to date.
What happens if we don’t meet our target?
All money pledged will be refunded in full by CrowdFunder if we don’t meet our initial funding target.
What happens if the bridge reopens before the ferry service is established?
We, like you, are desperately keen for the bridge to be reopened. In the event that some miraculously speedy engineering wizardry enables the council to safely open the bridge to pedestrians before we commence our ferry service, we will donate all unspent funds towards the bridge restoration project.
I run a local business and would like to talk with you about corporate sponsorship opportunities
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