First real-life look at anti-suicide measures for Archway Bridge

A mock-up section of controversial “prison-like” anti-suicide measures proposed for historic Archway Bridge has shown for the first time how they will look in real life.

Safety campaigners and conservationists are divided on current plans for a 2.5m high-wire fence on both sides of the iconic Highgate bridge, which is awaiting planning permission from Haringey Council.

The measures were temporarily installed on Thursday as part of a consultation with residents, but the event only served to compound fears for conservationists concerned that the fence is not the right solution for the bridge.

Cllr Bob Hare, Liberal Democrat councillor for Highgate at Haringey Council, said: “The proposals in their current form look very crude. Anything that would arise in a prison-like alley would be very unfortunate, but we have got to do something and we will do something.”

Highgate Society vice-president Michael Hammerson said: “They seem to be less effective than we thought. He added: “It’s inept, there’s no design element at all.”

However, safety campaigners have lauded the plans lodged by Transport for London (TfL). They have urged the council to grant planning permission without delay.

The Hornsey Lane Bridge Anti-Suicide Campaign have been fighting for safety measures since 2010. In that time, at least seven people have died in falls from the bridge.

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Campaign coordinator Sarah Cope, of Summersby Road, Highgate, said: “The council have procrastinated for decades and people have lost their loved ones as a result. It’s the most vulnerable people we are talking about saving here and all we are asking is that suicide is made harder and accessing health services is made easier.”

TfL has agreed to look again at designs in response to the criticism. It did not respond to a request for a comment.