Another developer’s folly is being removed next week. The pontoon just west of Kew Bridge, on the Brentford side, was installed as part of the St George’s development of apartments beside the bridge. It was built with ‘Section 106’ money – cash from developers which is meant to improve local infrastructure and benefit local people, but wasn’t actually wanted by residents of the new flats, for whom it spoiled the view, or river users.
Paul Hyman, who runs Active 360, the Stand Up Paddleboarding company based at Kew Bridge, says “All local river users will please to see the back of this white elephant. It’s an example of what can happen when people who know and use the river most are not consulted and decisions are made solely by uninformed people with their own interests and agendas in mind. It has made the river much less safe in this area for years and for no gain. The only beneficiaries were the geese who use it as a toilet – surely London’s most expensive”.
What residents did want was access to the walkway underneath Kew Bridge for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Strand on the Green Residents Association have long been campaigning to make the riverside footpath accessible to all.
The ‘Pontoon of Doom’ as local river users call it, which nobody wanted, will be taken down in the week beginning 2nd April. The work will take about four days. And the ability to walk beside the river, in accordance with the 2010 Equality Act? Who knows.