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Tom's Lea River 'rolling bridge' at Cody Dock hits buffers with Mayor of London's cash deadline

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 August 2019

Tom's unique rolling bridge in 'down' poisition to let pedestrians cross dock entrance. Picture: Vanessa Bowles

Tom's unique rolling bridge in 'down' poisition to let pedestrians cross dock entrance. Picture: Vanessa Bowles

Vanessa Bowles

Design genius Tom Randall-Page is in danger of losing a £40,000 pledge from the Mayor of London to help fund his unique rolling bridge on the River Lea.

Inventor Tom Randall-Page at Cody Dock where his hand-cranked rolling bridge would be a world first. Picture: Vanessa BowlesInventor Tom Randall-Page at Cody Dock where his hand-cranked rolling bridge would be a world first. Picture: Vanessa Bowles

The Gasworks Dock Partnership which has commissioned his hand-cranked rolling design - thought to be the first in the world - is trying to reach a £200,000 crowdfunding target to get it built at the Cody Dock project.

The mayor's City Hall hand-out deadline is August 27 and is about to be withdrawn, but the charity is determined to carry on.

"We'll continue fundraising whatever the outcome," the charity's environment expert Benjamin Bishop assured.

"This is an all or nothing campaign and we're positive that we'll reach our target, even if the mayor's donation is lost."

The partnership has received £70,000 in pledges, but stands to lose everything if it doesn't get to the £200,000 by late September.

The rolling bridge is the last piece in the jigsaw by 7,500 volunteers who have transformed the long-abandoned gasworks dock at Canning Town into a haven with gardens, ecology walk, café and riverside venue for events.

Rolling bridge in 'up' position lets barges through into Cody Dock. Picture: Vanessa BowlesRolling bridge in 'up' position lets barges through into Cody Dock. Picture: Vanessa Bowles

The bridge, which already has planning permission, was inspired by hand-operated locks on the Regent's Canal.

Inventor Tom, a 34-year-old architectural designer, has worked out a way to raise and lower the bridge using a rounded frame rolling along rails either side of the lock entrance which doesn't need to be powered like a traditional cantilever bridge.

The walkway is set at the bottom of a frame straddling the lock entrance for pedestrians to cross, which is then rolled over by pulley along the rails until the walkway is upside down at the top of the frame with enough room to let barges through.

Children's activities at rejuvenated Cody Dock on the Lea River. Picture: Cody DockChildren's activities at rejuvenated Cody Dock on the Lea River. Picture: Cody Dock

But raising the bridge now depends on raising the cash to build it.

Last minute donations this week include £10,000 from Berkley Group developers, £6,000 from Thames Tideway project and £1,000 from Marks & Spencer stores.

The bridge would also be the last link in the 26-mile Lea riverside walk that is eventually to connect Bow Creek and the Royal Docks to the Olympic Park and right out to Hertfordshire, without crossing any roads.

Once-derelict Cody Dock now a thriving east London community hub. Picture: Cody DockOnce-derelict Cody Dock now a thriving east London community hub. Picture: Cody Dock

Anyone pledging cash to the Spacehive crowdfunding at spacehive.com/cody-dock has their name cast into the bridge as part of the Cody Dock and River Lea heritage.

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