LRNF Response to TFL consultation on the Battersea Bridge safety improvement scheme

Transport for London

By email to: [email protected]

16th January 2023

Dear Sir/Madam,


I am writing in my capacity as Chair of the Lots Road Neighbourhood Forum (LRNF), the above mentioned scheme falling within the boundary of the Lots Road Neighbourhood Forum Area, designated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning under section 61F and 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.  

Following discussion with members of the Forum and I am now writing formally to respond to your consultation.

Following two fatalities and numerous accidents in 5 years, much public pressure has secured an initial safety improvement at Battersea Bridge with the completion in late 2021 a Phase 1 task of installing a light controlled pedestrian crossing at the Cheyne Walk junction with the northern end of Battersea Bridge. However, with only one arm of the junction protected by a pedestrian crossing the situation remains perilous for both pedestrians and other road users.

In 2022, TFL notified pre consultation survey plans for Phase 2 safety enhancements for the remaining three arms of the Chelsea/Battersea Bridge junction that remain unsafe without improvement. I want to stress at that outset that the LRNF, together with RBKC, the Chelsea Society and many other amenity societies, welcomes this initial work and the intention to introduce further essential enhancements in 2023 after formal consultation due to close on 24 January 2023.

There are significant concerns on consultation and potential problems that will arise if the scheme is not modified.  The initial TFL plans appear to be an extrapolation of older plans essentially based on the introduction of Cycle Superhighway 8 (CS8) along the north bank of the Thames from Westminster to Hammersmith. Hence, rather than simply addressing urgently required and vital safety improvements at the Chelsea/Battersea Bridge junction, the scheme proposes measures that will adversely impact access and movement for many Chelsea residents and others passing through Chelsea with significant new traffic queueing and congestion through central Chelsea and its main local access roads. 

Briefly: there has been no pre-consultation survey advice in south east Chelsea; the plan proposes to ban left turns for eastbound traffic north into Beaufort St, increasing overloading of already constricted north bound traffic in Oakley Street as well as on The King’s Road. New traffic constricting bus lanes are proposed along Chelsea Embankment and Cheyne Walk. At the same time Chelsea riverside including Battersea Bridge is under fresh traffic pressure following the closure, without consultation, of northbound and southbound junctions to east/west traffic at Chelsea Bridge.  Significantly, the scheme fails to consider the Battersea Bridge junction in the context of the whole Chelsea Embankment/Cheyne Walk route and the impact on Chelsea’s main roads and access.

Councillor Cem Kemahli for RBKC in formal submission to TFL (see RBKC letter on TFL PROPOSALS FOR BATTERSEA BRIDGE/CHELSEA EMBANKMENT dated 11 January 2023) has raised significant objections and proposed a widely supported 3 Phase ‘CHELSEA OPTION’ that will make Battersea Bridge safe as a priority and evaluate the remaining TFL proposals on their merits.  The LRNF strongly supports the submission made by Cllr Kemahli on behalf of the Council for RBKC. The LRNF additionally submits the following arguments in support of this case: 

·       We consider it is vital that the Phase 2 safety measures at the BB junction are decoupled from the wider TFL plans based on CS8 Chelsea Embankment/Cheyne Walk and that those TFL plans be fully evaluated in a 3rd Phase.

·       We insist that the banned north and south turns at Chelsea Bridge be reinstated to avoid excessive traffic being funnelled to the constricted and weight limited Albert Bridge and, HGV In particular, the extremely dangerous Battersea Bridge junction and generating excessive queueing on Chelsea Embankment/Cheyne Walk.

·       We object to the banned the left turn north into Beaufort St for traffic travelling east as impractical, unnecessary and hugely disruptive for residents in SW Chelsea (Cremorne Rd, Blantyre St, Cheyne Walk, Cremorne Estate, Beaufort St etc.) who will not be able access their homes without traffic generating detours west of Beaufort St via Oakley St (already subject to massive tailbacks), Flood Steet or Royal Hospital Rd and The King’s Rd.

·       We consider improvements/changes at Battersea Bridge should form part of a wider assessment of traffic patterns and problems at all three riverside bridge junctions on Chelsea riverside, namely Chelsea Bridge, Albert Bridge and Battersea Bridge. Our proposed Phase 3 evaluation must include and/or assess the impact on all access roads to and from RBKC, including Chelsea Bridge Rd, Tite St & Royal Hospital Rd, Oakley Street, Beaufort St and Cremorne Rd and consequent traffic flows along The Kings Rd and north and south across Chelsea. 

Lastly, if there are any points in our response that require greater clarification please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Jacques   

Chair, Lots Road Neighbourhood Forum