Archway Bridge suicide measures set to be approved at last
- Credit: Archant
Anti-suicide measures could finally be installed on the Archway Bridge after well over a decade of back and forth that has cost lives.
Listed building consent is set to be approved for 3.3-metre stainless steel fencing above the footpath and in front of the existing parapet.
Previous plans by TfL, signed off by both Islington and Haringey in 2015, have had to be changed because a sample of the proposed fence – and an “expert climber” – found people could still scale it.
The test section was installed alongside CCTV in 2016 and since then police have been called 41 times to the bridge, and one person was able to jump from it.
Following that death, Islington Council leader Richard Watts said he was “furious” with TfL over the delays, and in December last year Sadiq Khan said the measures would be installed by spring this year.
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New plans were submitted earlier this year but the process to get listed building consent is a lengthy one. They include a taller, longer fence that covers the plinths and brick walls at the ends, where the fence will expand to 4.1m tall.
The bars will also be changed from the 2015 plans and will be 20mm in diameter, because it was discovered the 8mm ones trialled could be bent by hand.
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The Hornsey Lane Association began a campaign for measures in 2001, and after three deaths in weeks in 2010 neighbours launched another campaign.
Throughout the protests there have been people complaining that the measures will harm the architecture and look of the historic bridge, as well as ruin the view.
Loren Averill, whose brother Jonathan Culverwell-Landsberg died at the bridge in 2013, told the Gazette last year: “It’s too late for me, but it’s going to save lives. Even if it ends up saving one life it’s worth it. Enough’s enough – it costs so much more money every time someone dies than it does to put up the safety measures.”
A report ahead of the meeting on Thursday states the revised plans are a “considerable improvement” on the 2015 ones in terms of deterrence.
In their report, officers conceded the visual impact will be greater, but said: “While it is accepted the proposals will cause some visual harm, it is considered to be less than substantial, reversible, and to be outweighed by the substantial public benefit of deterring and preventing suicide.”