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New Thames footbridge hitches a ride on the train

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A banker has come up with a plan to take advantage of an 'under-utilised' and 'overspecified' resource by submitting a planning application for a new London footbridge which clings to an existing railway bridge.

Bill Higgins' scheme for what he calls the Cannon Footbridge (above) is attached to the existing 1860 Cannon Street Railway Bridge across the Thames from Cannon Street Station to the emerging Borough Market area on the south bank.He told the AJ he is trying to persuade bridge owner Railtrack to grant him a licence for the footbridge and has lodged planning applications with both the 'supportive' planning authorities, the City of London and Southwark Borough Council.'With a reasonable wind and finance in place with the planning permissions, we could build it in 18 months.'

Higgins has enlisted engineer WSP, which is working on the Lifschutz Davidson-designed Hungerford Bridge project, and Jasper Jacob of Jasper Jacob Associates, with whom Higgins worked on the wine visitor attraction, Vinopolis, on the south bank. Plymouth's Architects Design Group (ADG) has also worked on the 240m long steel and glass bridge, which features four viewing canopies and 20 overhead video screens along its length.

These, along with 'subtle' advertising hoardings, will be used for sponsorship, which Higgins hopes will bring around half of the bridge's 'modest' £9 million cost. The rest he hopes will come from lottery grants and bodies such as English Partnerships, from whom he secured a £2.5 million deal for Vinopolis. Estimates commissioned from Space Syntax put potential bridge users at over 3.4 million people per year, which Higgins hopes will be the 'carrot' for Railtrack in terms of extra custom for its station.

The bridge will not be enclosed but will have extensive security features. It will face upstream - though Higgins has not ruled out a similar structure on the downstream side if all goes well.

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