Victory For Campaign To Clean Rail Bridge

Action on graffiti after years of pressure

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An eyesore railbridge in Wimbledon Chase has been cleaned of graffiti following years of pressure from local campaigners.

Network Rail had said in March that it would cost £100,000 to repaint the bridge across the main Kingston Road.

It said the estimate for re-painting the bridge was so high because the work couldn't go ahead without closing road and rail networks.

This was despite a 700-strong petition collected by Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond in August 2009 and constant lobbying by local campaigners.

Lib-Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon took the matter up with ministers and then Mayor Boris Johnson, urging him to approach Network Rail.

She has just received a letter from Network Rail's Chief Executive David Higgins promising to repaint the four corners of the bridge to help improve its appearance.

And the unsightly graffiti has already been painted out. The picture at the shows the bridge as it is now. And beneath is one taken earlier this year, with (left to right) are: Pritpal Singh Badewal, Caroline Pidgeon and Anthony Fairclough.

Caroline Pidgeon said: "After years of campaigning on the issue of the unsightly graffiti on Wimbledon Chase Bridge, I am delighted that Network Rail has finally seen sense and is going to make much needed improvements by cleaning up the bridge.

"I have visited the bridge and spoken to local residents and business owners, who all agree that the graffiti has had a negative impact on the local area."

Wimbledon Chase resident Anthony Fairclough said: "It took a lot of pressure and more than two years' effort to get this one simple improvement agreed to. If we hadn't constantly hassled Network Rail and the Council - would it have happened at all?

"We need a straightforward way of reporting these kind of problems and then action from the people who're responsible. You shouldn’t need to be a transport expert to get rubbish and graffiti removed near where you live, just because it happens to be on railway land or structures."

October 28, 2011