The long railway viaduct running between Battersea and Waterloo could become a much more pleasant place for pedestrians, as plans are shown off to create a “low line” along the railway arches.

Low Line concept (c) Allies and Morrison

Although the railway provides a single snaking link for the trains, down on street level, it’s more of a barrier, and there are limited options to walk alongside it, let alone pass through. Taking its cue from the Low Line that links London Bridge to Waterloo, the new Low Line running south aims to reinvigorate the often blighted areas around the railway line.

Supported by both Wandsworth and Lambeth councils, a report has been commissioned from Allies and Morrison looking at the opportunities and how to put them into practice.

In an area that has such a wide mix of existing and expected future residents and such a wide range of railway architecture, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach but more a policy of knitting together disparate patches in a way that would create a single Low Line between the two destinations.

The report that’s been commissioned has broken the Low Line into four distinct zones – Lambeth North, Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea – with planned developments focused on each zone’s unique character.

The project aims to improve the routes alongside the railways, fronted by the many businesses inside the arches, but also to punch through the railway barrier, to create improved east-west routes — such as the recently opened Arch 42 near Nine Elms station.

The plans for the Low Line aren’t a single unified scheme but more a collection of ideas that can be applied as and when they can, depending on property developments and, of course, the availability of funding.

There is some funding available already from property developments, which can be used to kickstart the process, but at this early stage, the report is more about setting out planning policies that can feed into future developments to ensure that a Low Line can emerge over time.

However, the councils and local developers are keen to develop the project, so given a few years to get started, there could be a contiguous Low Line all the way from London Bridge down to Battersea Power Station.

You can download a copy of the report from here.


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One comment
  1. Matt Sawyer says:

    Great idea!

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