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Councillors to protest TfL ‘inaction’ over Archway Bridge anti-suicide barriers

PUBLISHED: 16:45 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:50 19 July 2017

Archway Bridge.

Archway Bridge.

Archant

Islington councillors will tomorrow gather at Archway Bridge and demand Transport for London “pulls its finger out” over anti-suicide measures.

Cllr Dave Poyser with fellow Hillrise Cllrs Michelline Ngongo and Marian Spall, as well as Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, at Caxton House Community Centre last year. Picture: Dieter Perry Cllr Dave Poyser with fellow Hillrise Cllrs Michelline Ngongo and Marian Spall, as well as Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, at Caxton House Community Centre last year. Picture: Dieter Perry

The rally has been called amid TfL’s delays in producing sample barriers for the bridge, in Hornsey Lane. A man fell to his death earlier this month.

In October 2015, Islington and Haringey Councils signed off planning permission for three-metre panels. A fence was trialled last year but design issues meant it didn’t become permanent.

TfL said the new prototype barriers are likely to be installed in about a month’s time. In the meantime, security cameras have been installed on the bridge to spot people in distress.

But Hillrise Cllr Dave Poyser, who will lead today’s protest, told the Gazette: “TfL really needs to pull its finger out and get results sooner rather than later. There seems to be a sense of inertia and TfL doesn’t seem to be giving this the priority it should.”

Cllr Poyser has experienced the devastation suicide causes. In 1984, his girlfriend, Zara Tracy, killed herself at Arsenal Tube station.

He added: “To feel depressed about life is normal. But to commit suicide is rare and exceptional. Many people who are restrained from committing suicide go on to live happy lives.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims. There are too many at this bridge, and the more we can do to restrain people, the better.

“Many people who live around the area have ghastly stories. But maybe in the long term the bridge can lose its bad reputation. I think we can be successful.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “Any suicide is a tragic loss of life and we take our responsibility in reducing the number of people taking their lives on the transport network very seriously. We are committed to supporting both Islington and Haringey, as the highway authorities for Hornsey Lane Bridge, to install suicide-prevention fencing.

“The first prototype proved too flexible and subsequent strengthened prototypes were rejected by the councils. A new prototype, based on further amended designs, will be ready by the end of August before Haringey takes over the project and installs the fencing.”

The protest starts at 1pm.

Call Samaritans on 116 123 for confidential emotional support.

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