The design and realisation of the bridge canopy was a particularly clever element to the scheme. It was developed using 3D software, which was extrapolated by Gurit the world specialist in FRP system design. Fabricated off site the final canopy was then transported by barge and lorry to the site from Southampton. Given its lightweight nature the canopy was then hoisted into position in one weekend minimising long track closures. By creating a transparent covered bridge and sculptural lift towers all visual connections from the track and platforms are constant, making the station welcoming and secure and reducing the potential of vandalism.
Through careful negotiation with the local authority we were able to change the highway access and create a shared surface entrance for pedestrians, buses and drop off vehicles, enabling a clear access from pavement to station platform, a device rarely employed. This permeability is central to the success of the scheme which links directly to a newly landscaped Park, previously unused grass land beyond. The station is also immediately adjacent to a school where the station and crossing now acts as a fulcrum point connecting together two large and otherwise alienated communities.
As a mark of the projects success the judges at the Prime Ministers Better Building Awards 2008 rated this project at 9 out of 10 for Client satisfaction regarding both the end product and service delivered by the design team. The creation of a welcoming public realm to both sides of the track (at grade) has enabled a vastly improved high quality hard landscape and disabled users. It has also providing greatly improved the safety for children accessing the adjacent School, where as previously local residents described the area as a ‘muggers paradise’.
The station and improved accessibility has provided the catalyst for development on two key adjacent brown-field sites into mixed tenure housing developments with integrated doctors’ surgeries, public realm and retail / commercial premises at ground floor. One of these developments alone received planning approval for over 500 units of mixed tenure social housing. Known locally as 'the Beacon’ this station has evoked an improved scene of community spirit and greater social wellbeing through connectivity to local amenities and jobs.