Ripple Greenway project
The Ripple Greenway is a new path for people on foot and bicycle, connecting communities with green spaces in Thames Ward. The greenway will link the Thames View with the Nature Reserve and the River Thames footpath. Complementing the Ripple Greenway scheme, Barking Riverside Limited will be making significant investment in improving pathways through the existing Ripple Nature Reserve for people on foot and bicycle, opening up this fantastic birch woodland and green space for the community to enjoy. The emphasis in design will be to retain the natural and wild feel of these green spaces.
The path will also provide residents with a peaceful traffic-free link to the new Overground station which will be built over the next two years.
The idea for the Greenway came out of resident feedback from a series of led walks in partnership with the Sue Bramley Children’s Centre and Living Streets in 2017-18 in Thames Ward which explored how access to local green spaces could be enhanced.
Residents engaged wanted to improve access along the Thames View Playing Fields for a wider range of users, clean it up and improve wildlife habitats.
Barking and Dagenham responded to this resident feedback by applying for £400,000 from the Mayor of London to deliver the project, which has been part funded by the council.
The greenway will provide safer, healthier routes to schools and work for people on foot and bicycle, as it provides a traffic-free alternative to the industrial Thames Road, whilst creating a quiet and enjoyable destination in itself.
What the project will include
In collaboration with the community, the design will include new lighting for safety and access, new trees and planting, benches, bins, wayfinding signs, information boards, heritage and memorial features chosen by residents, natural play features and new wildlife habitats such as bird and bat boxes, bug hotels (made my school pupils) and blossoming trees.
The path works will begin in early July and be completed by winter 2019. Community-led tree planting will take place from November 2019 to March 2020. Sections of the greenspace will be closed for certain periods during construction and notices will be put up.
The project name
The name was developed through discussions with residents at community meetings. The name stems from an old map of Thames Ward. Over 100 years ago, the area north of the River Thames was known as the Ripple. In addition to the existing Ripple Nature Reserve on Renwick road, the Ripple Greenway references the fantastic natural heritage of the area.
What community engagement has delivered so far Toggle accordion
Since November, a community partnership group involving key representatives has steered the project and design work. This group has representatives from the Thames View and Barking Reach/Riverside Associations, local schools, police, councillors, faith groups, Thames Ward Community Project and other wildlife specialists.
On 16 November 2018, Be First/LBBD council sent a letter to every household in Thames Ward (over 6000) inviting residents to complete an online survey and attend 5 community events in November and December at the following locations during the daytime, evening and weekend:
- Thames View Playing fields
- Sue Bramley Centre
- Farr Avenue shops
- Rivergate Centre
This was followed by two larger community co-design events inviting residents to get involved in designing the greenway. These were held at the Sue Bramley Centre and Rivergate Centre in January 2019.
In April 2019, students from Riverside school conducted a site visit to ensure that the greenway will be a safe and accessible route to school.
107 people completed the survey at community events, so far we found that:
- 94% of survey respondents are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested in a better path surface to improve access for people with pushchairs, people on bicycles, wheelchair users etc
- 79% are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested in educational activities for children
- 78% are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested in information and education board
- 67% are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested in habitats for wildlife
The top three stated reasons for not visiting the site are:
- I do not feel safe here
- There are not enough places to sit and rest
- No suitable path for buggies, wheelchairs and bikes
Current site Toggle accordion
Concept designs for the Greenway responding to community workshops Toggle accordion
How to get involved Toggle accordion
On Wednesday 23 May from 3 pm to 7 pm we will be organising a family day on the Thames View playing fields to share the designs and talk to residents. There will be fun activities for children such as flower planting and crafts.
Local residents will also be organising some events for the National Park City festival from 20 to 28 July 2019. Watch this space!
If you would you like to join the Friends of the Ripple Group and get involved in family-friendly tree planting and conservation, contact Jake.Cosgrove@Sustrans.org.uk.
You can share your views on the greenway by completing the online survey:
or contact Jake.Cosgrove@Sustrans.org.uk
07802 807 586
During Summer term, local school children will participate in the design of signposts for the Ripple Greenway. In September, we will organise school trips to the construction site to teach children about the engineering industry.
How this project will benefit the community Toggle accordion
By establishing better and safer connections between green spaces and key community locations such as the new Overground station, the path will encourage more residents and school children to walk, ride, play and enjoy nature in Thames Ward.
This project will improve conditions for wildlife, provide opportunities for residents to get involved in tree planting and improve access to nature which is valuable for wellbeing.
Provision for people with disabilities Toggle accordion
In February 2019 we invited Barking and Dagenham’s Access group on a site visit to inform the scheme. It is important that the design of the path will be inclusive for all users who wish to enjoy green space in Thames Ward. The existing tarmac path will be upgraded and extended along the route, ensuring that this green space can be accessed by people using bikes and wheelchairs as well as parents with buggies.
The design will take into account partially sighted and wheelchair users as well as those with autism.
Pedestrians and cyclists will share the same path Toggle accordion
The priority of the scheme is to create a safer environment for people to travel between green spaces, regardless of their mode of transport.
Segregation of pedestrians and cyclists encourages faster speeds, whereas a shared use will prioritise people on foot. Shared paths do not need to be as wide as segregated paths either, which will minimise grass loss, an important concern for residents.
Pedestrian priority signs will be installed and the path will have a winding design to calm speed and minimise any potential conflict.
Path surface materials Toggle accordion
The path will be the same as the existing footpath which runs from Bastable Avenue to Thames Road.
It will be 3 metres wide to allow for a range of users to share the space without conflict and will be made of Tarmac.
Although we explored options for more natural surfacing with the community, the maintenance costs for natural loose surfaces are very high over a 20 year period. Natural dirt surfacing is prone to pot holes and puddling and does not provide a good year-round weather-proof surface for buggies, wheelchairs and bikes. Tarmac (asphalt) provides the smoothest and most durable surface and will be complemented by natural planting and trees which will be the focus of your attention.
The asphalt path will be jet black when first laid, but will change to a silvery grey over time, as you find in most urban parks around the UK.
Lighting Toggle accordion
Column lighting will be installed and designed to ensure light spill is focused on the path, increasing safety and access while preventing unnecessary lighting affecting adjoining properties or wildlife habitats.
The lighting will also have a dimming function so will only be 25% bright until a user approaches the path, when the light will become brighter. This reduces unnecessary light spill and saves energy. Additional light shields can be installed to further prevent spill if required in certain areas.
Safety for residents whose houses back onto the path Toggle accordion
We have consulted with the Safer Neighbourhood team who have approved the design from a safety point of view. The introduction of lighting will make the space safer after dark and is proven to discourage persons entering properties compared with unlit conditions.
Appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that properties along the route will be kept secure. There will be the option for defensive planting to be installed along back garden walls on the route. The route will be opened up in its design to minimise hiding places, will be lit and monitored by local police.
The path is expected to be popular, meaning there will be ‘eyes on the street’, creating a safer environment for all, including clear sight lines along the route.
Moped and motorbike riders Toggle accordion
It is illegal to drive a moped or motorbike on anything other than a road, therefore the use of a motorbike or moped on this walking and cycling path will strictly not be permitted. To ensure maximum safety for users and to deter any potential use from motorbikes, the Safer Neighbourhood team have agreed to patrol the greenway and monitor the site closely.
There is funding allocated to monitor the site with temporary CCTV in the unlikely event of a persistent issue. The Safer Neighbourhood team will monitor any moped users who break the law and have powers to confiscate bikes from properties if necessary.
The existing ‘squeeze gates’ (which aim to deter mopeds) at Bastable Avenue and Alderman Avenue currently reduce access for buggies, wheelchairs and bicycles. For this reason, these squeeze gates will be removed, improving access for all legitimate path users. It is unfair to design for a minority of moped users who break the law. It is fairer to design improvements which the majority of residents will benefit from.
Preventing access to large vehicles such as cars and trucks Toggle accordion
Every highway access point (such as Bastable Avenue, Thames Road, Radford Way, Alderman Avenue and Havering Way footpaths will have either solid bollards (as already found on Havering Way) or boulders which will prevent any vehicle from accessing the field.
In addition to this, the council has a high court order to prevent illegal settlements which has been highly effective since 2017.
Please share your views and suggestions for suitable barriers which could replace the fence. These are draft designs and your suggestions are valuable - get in touch!
Existing fencing around Thames View public playing fields will be removed Toggle accordion
The fence surrounding the public field will be removed and replace with alternative barriers at highway access points to stop vehicles entering the field. The fences surrounding the Thames View Infants and Junior school playgrounds will remain in place.
We have consulted with many residents about the fence surrounding the public playing field. Many residents have told us that the existing industrial fence creates an enclosed space along the greenway site which creates feelings of insecurity and a lack of safety.
‘I do not feel safe’ was the most common reason people residents surveyed do not currently visit the greenway site.
This deters the majority of the community from using the current greenway site. With the fence removed, this will make the greenway path better connected to the field, with new seating and trees, while making the greenway path feel safer and more accessible.
We are also aware of residents’ concerns about vehicle access to the field. The fence was originally installed to stop motorised vehicles from entering the field, however its industrial size is inappropriate for a public park. We have spoken to residents about their concerns around illegal settlement on the field. Responding to this, we have proposed an alternative to the fence which serves the same function, while making the greenway more inviting and accessible.
The fence will be replaced with robust vehicle barriers at highway entrance points, in the form of bollards, boulders or heavy-weight timber raised flower beds, which we were agreed by the community steering group.
The entrance points which will have vehicle barriers include:
- Bastable Avenue
- Thames Road
- Radford Way
- Alderman Avenue
- Havering Way
At the moment, the fence provides separation from the field and the greenway, which some suggest keeps dogs separated from other members of the public. However, dog walkers and non-dog owners currently use both the field and the greenway, and all members of the community should feel free to use any part of the green space.
The vast majority of parks around the borough and the UK do not have fences segregating them, instead dog walkers and other users share the space respectfully. Most parks also have open gates accessible to the road, while being contained by boundaries. This will be the case for the greenway and field: apart from access points, the field will be contained by the school playground fencing and the bushes along the ditch. By law it is the owner’s responsibility to manage the behaviour of their dog.
With tall grasses and trees around the field and native hedgerows along the greenway, there will be lots of opportunities for your dog to explore and forage in nature. If resident dog walkers are interested, there is potential scope to build a dog agility trail along the greenway, subject to council agreement which would create an attraction for dogs. Please get in touch if this is of interest!
Effect the project will have on wildlife Toggle accordion
£50,000 is reserved for the community steering group to spend on tree planting along the field and around the field. The project will remove waste from the ‘ditch’ waterway with charity Thames 21, endeavour to re-establish running water and promote the regrowth of the reedbed.
Bird & bat boxes, bug hotels and planting to attract insects will also be installed by residents.
Join the Friends of Group to get involved in building habitats! Please get in touch with Jake:
The Greenway and Nature Reserve are important wildlife corridors which will be celebrated and enhanced so that its status as a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC) can be enjoyed by all.
Lighting will be focused on the path and prevent spill onto the watercourse.
The path will be carefully designed to ensure that habitats can thrive in future. Full ecology checks (including for bats) will be taken. We believe that opening up green space for the local population in an urban environment has wide benefits, and see the path as an opportunity for schools and residents to increase access to green space.
personal safety and possible anti-social behaviour on the route Toggle accordion
The priority of the scheme is to create a safer environment for people to move around Thames Ward and enjoy nature, regardless of their mode of transport.
This new trail for people on foot and bicycle will be lit to promote safety and encourage its safe use at all times, in all seasons.
The overarching aim of the scheme is to improve safety, access and wellbeing for everyone in the borough. As the green space is used by more people, it will also feel safer.
Maintenance of the path Toggle accordion
The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the path, surrounding green space and watercourse. Bins will be provided at access points along the route and the design will prevent vehicular access to ensure that the route is kept as clean and attractive as possible for all to enjoy.
In due course, the Friends of the Greenway group can organise regular community conservation sessions to encourage pride and ownership of the site.
How the route links into the wider road network Toggle accordion
The scheme will link residents with the new Overground station to the east, and into a new Quietway walking and cycling route to the west which will provide a safe onward route to Barking and beyond. The Greenway will provide an essential alternative path to Thames Road which currently experiences high levels of industrial traffic and pollution, making it unsafe for walking and cycling.
In 2017, Sustrans conducted air quality monitoring on Thames Road with school council pupils from George Carey and found nitrogen dioxide levels to be unsafe for human exposure (40mg3). This further builds the case for alternative traffic-free routes.
Access for emergency services Toggle accordion
We will liaise with the appropriate services and ensure that the design takes any issues raised by the services into account.
Emergency services will be kept informed throughout the design process, with specific champions to be selected who will have the responsibility of keeping their departments informed and relaying any relevant information back to the borough.
Contact us or get involved
To get involved in community tree planting and to share your views on the design, contact:
Join the resident friends group: facebook.com/friendsoftheripple