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Switch on of new illumination at transformed Westminster Bridge Road underpass - Thur 18 January

Everyone is welcome at the official 'switch on' of the new lighting at the once-dismal, now made-over, Westminster Bridge Road underpass.  It will take place on Thur 18 January at 6pm.  Lambeth Council, the project's co-ordinators, have timed this opening to coincide with the Lumiere Festival which runs from 18 - 21 January, but all the lighting elements of this much-improved space will remain as permanent features after the Festival ends.  This should make the underpass both safer for pedestrians and more visually appealing.  

Lambeth Council has been working with local schools Oasis South Bank Academy, Oasis Johanna Primary and Morley College as a part of Lambeth’s Westminster Bridge Road Regeneration Project to make the area better for the local community and visitors alike.

The decorative lighting scheme in the Westminster Bridge Road arch is the second such installation, following a similar lighting project in the Carlisle Lane arch in October 2017.  Its designers hope the now well-lit railway arch will become a more attractive place, not only to travel through but also to visit as a destination.

Westminster Bridge Road was identified early on during public engagement as an area of Waterloo that needed to be improved for pedestrians and other users alike.  As a result of this feedback from local people and business, Lambeth Council has embarked on a number of public realm works in the area.

The lights will be switched on outside Build Studios, 203 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7FR.  Build Studios is located at the northern side of Westminster Bridge Road rail arch, underneath the Urbanest building.

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, said: “We are really pleased to invite local people to the switch on event for this decorative lighting project that gives Westminster Bridge Road underpass a much needed uplift and characterisation that means something for the local community here.

“Artwork from local schools, Morley College and members of the public will be displayed under the bridge offering the community something that they can identify with and say that they played a part in making improvements to the area.”

Ben Stephenson, CEO of We Are Waterloo Business Improvement District, said: “This project has been a good example of collaboration between businesses, schools and the council and the result has been really well received.

“The lighting scheme is sensitive to the impressive Victorian railway structures, enhancing rather than disguising it and the next step in long overdue improvements to the public realm here.”

The project combines multi-colour changing LED lamps with artwork from Year 9 students studying at the nearby Oasis Academy South Bank and Year 4 pupils at the Baylis Road-sited Joanna Primary School.  This work was then developed further in a workshop with Morley College students with the help of the commercial artwork design firm, Make:Good.

The girders of Westminster Bridge Road will be lit up in colour, enhancing the beautiful Victorian architecture of the underpass and encouraging pedestrians to appreciate their form and structure where they might have previously gone un-noticed.  The colours are programmable and a calendar of special days and events will be developed to celebrate or commemorate local, national and international events.  Further to this, the facia panels on the Addington Street side will be lit up with colour, again completely programmable to illuminate in different colours.