The Missing Link

As soon as Cllr Ashley Tilling became involved in discussions about the Brooklands Accessibility Project a couple of years ago, it seemed to him that a key option for linking Brooklands to the town centre was missing.

The Accessibility Project has already brought a much safer route for people on foot or bike making journeys to or via the station; it provides a properly surfaced and illuminated track from Brooklands to the station, the shared path along Heath Road and the improvements to the town paths. However, it has a big limitation in that all users have a severe restriction at the railway bridge where cyclists will have to dismount in order to safely pass pedestrians on the narrow pavement over the bridge. 

With the renewed interest in cycling and walking that the pandemic has presented, as well as the additional encouragement to leave cars at home, it seemed that there was an opportunity to investigate a ‘missing link’ route. This would make use of the closed railway bridge which was built to connect Locke King House (now Brooklands College) to the Brooklands race track. The path would open up an additional traffic-free route for all those travelling to and from Brooklands and the Locke King housing area with Brooklands College, Heathside School and the town centre without having to negotiate the narrow pavement on the road bridge. 

Ashley contacted Network Rail last year to ask if there was a possibility for them to give permission to use the railway bridge. Their recent reply is very encouraging. They have now conducted a paper-work investigation and physical structural check of the state of the bridge in question. This is their response:

The bridge in question is currently in reasonable condition and, subject to the relevant processes, we would in principle be in a position to transfer it to the local authority if they wished to dedicate public rights over it. 

He will now pursue this scheme with Surrey and Elmbridge Councils but your support for this would be most welcome. Please tell us what you think of this idea and whether you might use this bridge (you can use our comments section).

 

20 thoughts on “The Missing Link

  1. An excellent idea. Does there have to be a choice between the Heathside Link and the College Link – why not have both?

    • Thanks for your comment Guy. No there doesn’t have to be a choice; I’ll be trying to get agreement for both.

  2. Kim Middleton
    I would very much welcome the opening up of this bridge/ route …it would compliment the existing footpaths which I already use …which open up traffic free access information routes around Weybridge, Brooklands , New Haw and Addlestone .

  3. Excellent idea, well done for such creative thinking. Its not easy to align SCC, the college, school and Network Rail but this is a splendid idea that would benefit everyone. I’m particularly keen that SCC give it their full support. Their decision to relocate some functions in the Dakota building makes an attractive and safe walking and cycling route not only to the station but also to Weybridge town centre particularly important. If this was a commercial development, it could well be argued that it would be a S.106 condition.

  4. This is an excellent proposal.

    The Heathside link would be particularly attractive to cyclists because it would mean they don’t have to go all the way up the hill to the Station just to come down the other side. For many cyclists hills are a big obstacle.

    It would be great to see the Cricket Hill area opened up as amenity space. It is currently completely wasted.

    The footway over the bridge at the station is too narrow even for pedestrians and should be addressed anyway. Particularly now when it is impossible to socially distance when crossing (and it’s busy enough that there’s always someone coming in the opposite direction).

  5. Another upvote for this idea. The improvements so far are very welcome but crossing the bridge and the two roads at the stations with 2 little ones on bikes is still pretty scary.

    This route would be much safer and more pleasant. I favour the college link over the Heathside Link as Brooklands Lane is overloaded with school traffic (pedestrian & vehicle) and can’t take anymore. In fact whilst looking at this you might investigate if co-operation between the college and Heathside could alleviate some of the pressure by allowing Heathside drop-offs at the college?

  6. An excellent idea to solve the serious bottleneck in SCC’s major new cycle route over the railway bridge. It would also reopen the pathway through the Green Belt land which was closed off to the public quite recently. Let us hope SCC Transport and other authorities will quickly act in the public interest on this idea.

  7. A very good idea. This would be an excellent solution to the severe bottleneck in SCC’s major new cycle route over the main railway bridge which they have yet to resolve. This alternative bridge and pathway could also reopen access to the Green Belt land near the College which was only closed off to the public quite recently . Let us hope SCC Transport and other authorities will quickly take up this idea in the public interest..

  8. Some years ago walkers were prevented from using the footpaths through Brooklands by the college. The security staff locked the gate on the Heath and wouldn’t allow access. There is another part of the footpath that goes along by the Heathside school caretakers house in Brooklands Lane that was also blocked off, and the entrance to the school opposite the cemetery in Brooklands Lane. Does this change mean that security staff will allow pedestrians to walk on these footpaths ?

    • I have been in touch with the Chair of Governors of Brooklands College and he is supportive of the idea. But security and safeguarding of students is an issue to be discussed if and when Surrey County Council back the scheme.

    • I have been in touch with the Chair of Governors of Brooklands College and he is supportive of the idea. But security and safeguarding of students is an issue to be discussed if and when Surrey County Council back the scheme.

    • Thanks Andy,
      Security and safeguarding of students will be key issues to be discussed if and when Surrey County Council back the scheme. I have been in touch with the Chair of Governors of Brooklands College and he is supportive of the idea.

  9. Its a great idea to open up these pathsways.
    So many have been cut off by private estates and landowners.
    The path across the railway bridge behind the station was open some years ago; closed by private land owners I assumed
    I believe there is a monument over the bridge mentioned – it would be nice to allow public access.

  10. A brilliant idea. Wholeheartedly support this to encourage more access to safe cycling and walking routes for all.

  11. I would definitely use this path and bridge. In fact, during lockdown 3 I tried to work out if it was still accessible, as I remember when it was open/just closed. The route via the station footpath is one I use regularly on my longer walks (from Oatlands) and I would gladly bypass that narrow path and the traffic on the junction.

  12. This is a tremendous idea. However it can go a lot further – why not get Brooklands College to hand over all the woods and the Cricket Hill area to EBC so it can be used as an amenity space for the community and become part of the Heath areas.

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