Spring 2002


Commodore’s Bit
Annual Dinner
AGM Joan Bray
AGM Mike Baker
Aquarius Web Site
Membership Fees
Open Weekend
Fyne Boats
SailBoat 2002
Sunnyside Bridge
Sailing Sec Report 2001
Prizes 2001
Result Summary 2001
RYA Membership
Social & Social Calendar
Sailing Programme Notes
Trivial Pursuit
Working Party

Proposed Bridge at Sunnyside Reservoir
(Hampton to Molesey)
Eric BRIDGEwater

Bridge appearence
Bridge location

Illustrations courtesy Whitby-Bird & Partners

Members may have seen reports of a proposed pedestrian/cycle bridge at Sunnyside. We are very concerned about the impact this will have on us and have had a joint meeting of Hampton SC and Aquarius with the TOPS group. The main points made follow.

Around 1995 it was proposed that a pedestrian/cycle bridge crossing the Thames at Sunbury be studied. Out of these discussions a separate small un-affiliated group to be called Thames Overways Projects (TOPS) was born. TOPS expanded the objectives to consider 4 pedestrian/cycle bridges between Staines and Hampton Court. Meanwhile Spelthorne has built two Leisure Centres, which was good for Sunbury residents but removed one of reasons for the Sunbury crossing and therefore initial attention has turned to Sunnyside.

The engineering company Whitby-Bird & Partners were funded by Surrey and Richmond through SWELTRAC (set up to solve problems of surface access to Heathrow) to perform a feasibility study.

In the case of the Sunnyside crossing 3 sketches were produced and one proposal, Option 1, was fleshed out in a little more detail. No consultations with local organisations have been carried out. A press release was put out and an exhibition showing the results of the study is going the rounds (at Sunbury Library from 16Mar2002) . A revised press release has been issued because of factual errors in the original but it appears that some papers are still using the old press release.

The two clubs were unable to discern from TOPS any valid argument for building a bridge at the Sunnyside location. Sunbury seemed to be the obvious location for such a bridge. Sunbury is halfway between Walton Bridge and Hampton Ferry, has a community living on one side of the river with desirable facilities and destinations on the other side and a developed infrastructure for the roads with lighting on both sides.

Some of our members living in Hampton pointed out differences from Sunbury. There is no riverside community at Sunnyside. Where Hampton comes close to the river there is already the ferry. There is no Civic Leisure centre in Molesey, which would be accessed by the proposed bridge. Molesey does not have the facilities of Walton.

It was clear that TOPs interest was in looking at the activities on the river but did not understand them. We need to emphasise to people that the bridge would destroy the sailing which is one of the key attractions to people on the towpath in this reach of the river.

The two sailing clubs would have their sailing reach, between Sunbury and Molesey Lock, cut in half by the proposed bridge. Aquarius Sailing Club boats would be trapped in their moorings in some conditions.

We pointed out that any bridge will affect airflow and will in certain conditions prevent sailing boats from moving upstream. A bridge with 10 metres headroom over nearly the whole width of the river would be required to allow the Aquarius and Hampton fleets to sail upstream and even then not in all conditions. The current proposal is for 5.9 metres over the middle part of the river

The two clubs advocated the relocation of the proposed bridge to an existing barrier such as Sunbury Weir. A crossing at that location would not hinder any river user and could be of much smaller scale.

It was clear that TOPs had much less support and much less time had gone into the proposals than conveyed by the publicity produced. We need to be aware of all comments made about the bridge. If anybody sees any comments like the following by Molesey Conservatives please let me know (020 8941 4135).

" Would you spend £2.5 million on a pedestrian and cycle bridge in Molesey? Surely this is the last item on most residents shopping lists, but is being given serious consideration. £2.5 million could be put to much better use."

Please attend the exhibition and add suitable comments to the book.