Croydon wins a ‘connected’ award, for £24m unfinished bridge

The incomplete £24m bridge at East Croydon, unlikely to be finished before 2024

East Croydon Station’s “Bridge to Nowhere”, the £24million pedestrian bridge which has never been completed to provide the intended access to Cherry Orchard Road and Addiscombe, has just been cited as a reason for Croydon winning an award for urban design.

Or, as Croydon Council – which part-funded the unfinished bridge – put it: “The council’s Connected Croydon programme outshone urban design projects from around the country to win the Public Sector Award at the Urban Design Awards”.

Yes, a multi-million-pound unfinished bridge as part of a Connected Croydon programme.

One can only assume that there wasn’t much opposition.

The Connected Croydon programme comprised digging up flower beds and saplings and replacing them with new saplings, or scrapping cycle lanes on the High Street in South Croydon and replacing them with car parking spaces.

There were also pavement replacement works at various locations around the town centre which over-ran on time and budget. The programme was introduced by the previous Tory Town Hall administration, using huge chunks of riot recovery funds, usually in areas which were not affected by the riots in August 2011.

Almost four years since the bridge at East Croydon Station opened, and there remains no access to Cherry Orchard Road or the Menta blocks of flats

Promised linking routes for pedestrians and cyclists from the town centre through Old Town to Wandle Park have never been delivered, and much of the paving and roadworks that has been done has required repairs and return visits by contractors to deal with snagging issues over utilities and the finish of the work. Outside East Croydon Station, the job is still not completed, with work ongoing on the bus station.

Overall, £50million has been spent on the public realm, but at great inconvenience and cost to local businesses; a recent unscientific survey of Inside Croydon readers found only 18 per cent happy with the works that had been carried out. The general dissatisfaction with the DisConnected Croydon programme has seen the current administration quietly drop references to the project.

Nonetheless, the same contractors, Kier, have been retained throughout most of the works, despite the apparent problems in delivery. Indeed, Kier have been hired to carry out the carriageway works on Surrey Street over the next few months.

And Kier also happens to be one of the sponsors for Croydon’s “Beer on the Beach”stunt in Cannes next week at the “booze and hookers fest” that is the MIPIM developers’ conference.

The Bridge to Nowhere was intended to provide a convenient pedestrian link at the northern end of East Croydon Station, both to the station’s platforms and across into the town centre. But because someone in the legal departments at the Town Hall, TfL or Network Rail, failed to nail down a watertight agreement from Menta, the developers, to build the access point for the bridge on the eastern side of the station, the bridge has remained incomplete.

This inconvenient fact has not deterred the council’s propaganda department boasting of its “achievement”.

In a press release this week, the council said, without any sign of embarrassment, “As part of Connected Croydon, the East Croydon Bridge and pedestrian link was installed connecting the station to Lansdowne Road and improvements were also made to the public realm around London Road, Old Town and South End, creating new and improved spaces.”

Some of the “improvements” delivered by DisConnected Croydon

They claim “improved efficiency and attractiveness of Croydon’s two major public transport interchanges at East and West Croydon”. What do you mean, you hadn’t noticed?

And the council’s press release also quoted someone called Ben van Bruggen, who is described as the “convenor of the National Urban Design Public Sector Award”, who apparently really did say that, “Connected Croydon shows that guiding the investment in the public realm is crucial not only to the citizens, through creating walkable streets and networks, but also to the developers, who know that quality public realm makes commercial sense.”

One can only assume that van Bruggen has either not walked the streets of Croydon town centre, nor had any conversations about “quality public realm” with developers Menta.


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Addiscombe, Commuting, Connected Croydon, Croydon Council, Cycling, East Croydon, Environment, Menta Tower, Property, TfL, Transport, West Croydon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Croydon wins a ‘connected’ award, for £24m unfinished bridge

  1. mikebweb says:

    What a bridge, well its far cleaner and better than the former subway at this point, so let look at the pluses! Have you tried to use this for disable access – no problem until you get to ground level by the station where BR say, well off you go we only assist on BR property! The, its fun to find a taxi or a bus or a tram – just about NOTHING at this entrance, but, of course, you can walk up Dingwall Road to the trams and buses.
    Remember we were told this was part of a connected Croydon to the Whitgift Centre via level access across Wellesley Road. What happened to that bright idea, even if you don’t mind being mown down by streams of passing traffic, the new roadway is nearly complete and there is no sign of the curb let down to allow for a crossing – well may be notice has been taken of those who said how daft, and the subway is to remain?

    Like

  2. The street level connection to the Whitgift Centre from Lansdowne Road will be provided in conjunction with works for the tram loop. I found out this information at a meeting of the Croydon Mobility Forum.

    Like

  3. drewarp says:

    Everyday I feel the effect of the bridge to nowhere near cherry orchard road so enjoyed the lively analysis of a classic f**k up that nobody wants to own up to or solve at the council. As for Menta, to back out of a decision that screws loads of commuters including residents of their own unaffordable (unless you’re tax exiled) shoeboxes, it’s time to add on the ‘l’ that dropped off the end of their name. Their showroom blocks bridge access, so what happens long term? Bridge once or if all shoeboxes flogged off? Anyone heard of a solution?

    Like

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