Painting the Riverside Railings

Friday, July 1st, 2011. 3:34pm

Cambridge City Council to Spend £25K Painting 100m of These Railings

Cambridge City Council to Spend £25K Painting 100m of These Railings

Councillors at Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee are struggling to spend their Environmental Improvements budget. At at meeting of the committee on the 23rd of June councillors said they didn’t have enough ideas for how to spend their spare budget.

One item councillors approved further consideration of, for mopping up the excess cash, is spending £250/meter on painting the Riverside railings in Cambridge.

Councillors were told that if you do painting really well (by taking the railings away for sand-blasting) you can pay for it out of a capital budget as it is no longer classed as maintenance, but “renewal”. The committee agreed to progress plans for spending £25,000 on painting 100m of the railings.

Some painting is already being done as part of what councillors and their officers call the “conflict reduction scheme” – the works on the road near the Elizabeth Way bridge. The East Area committee didn’t agree where to splash its £25K but considered both the stretch from Midsummer Common to the current works, or starting from the Stourbridge Common end.

Green councillor Adam Pogonowski questioned the high cost of the repainting. He said a resident had told him that the probation service were looking for repainting projects for those doing “community payback” and would be able to do the work much more cheaply. I spoke to that resident after the meeting and he told me he’d had a quote from the probation service – of just £1 / meter (the cost being for materials), the labour of course being free. He, and Cllr Pogonowski pointed out the community payback work would be of a high quality, including rubbing down the railings and getting rid of the present paint. They said the quality of work done by those serving community sentences painting railings on Midsummer Common was excellent.

I have previously made an FOI request asking about Community Sentences Served With Cambridge City Council but there appears to be no real idea within the council of what’s being done for the council under this scheme.

It appears odd to be considering spending £250/meter refurbishing railings which, at the Stourbridge Common end of the stretch, are currently used to store bikes, firewood, and junk by a resident boater, big issue salesman and bike repair man.

11 comments/updates on “Painting the Riverside Railings

  1. Geoff Jones

    Probably pales into insignificance compared to the cost of a footpath being made with 6″ of reinforced concrete topped with 3″ Chinese marble that is currently been laid adjacent to the railings!!

  2. Richard Taylor Article author


    I completely agree that the costs of the works the council are currently carrying out are also astronomical. The City Council’s desire to import stone from the other side of the world is bizarre, especially as many will have elected them thinking the Liberal Democrats were an environmentally conscious group.

    It does appear that they’ve got the key bit of the camber to drain back to the river right; I’m not that impressed with the quality of the work though – but it’s not finished yet so perhaps I should hold off on judgement.

    £2m+ for the work on the short stretch of road (if they ever get all the way from Midsummer to Stourbridge commons) is enormous; given that we’re not actually dramatically changing the area; the opportunity to make it more like say:

    has been missed.

  3. Geoff Jones

    The biggest problem is that this cost will be now used as an excuse to not extend and improve other pathways /cycleways. A more modest approach would have improved ALL the cycleway/footpath from the new bridge into midsummer common!

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Wright is the “lead councillor” for the project. She’s certainly in charge of pushing getting the railings painted; but it was council officers who came up with the £250/metre quote.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    A beautiful still scene was tweeted early this morning. A swan followed by a line of cygnets. It was obviously Riverside in Cambridge from the dilapidated state of the railings which were in the foreground of the picture.

    I planned to retweet/quote the tweet as I thought perhaps that, along with the cygnets (or maybe they were ducklings) featured, would help draw attention to the state of the railings and encourage our councillors to paint them. I intended to mention the two ward councillors who’re on Twitter Cllrs Richard Johnson and Peter Roberts.

    I’m writing this comment after a period of sustained online attack by socialist political activists so I thought I ought very carefully consider tweets mentioning Cllrs Richard Johnson and Peter Roberts. Unfortunately I left it too long and the tweet in question has disappeared off the bottom of my time-line and I can’t find it to act on.

    While the railings are owned by the County Council city councillors have approved funding for their maintenance / refurbishment in the past and of course city councillors and lobby other bodies on behalf of their residents, and in relation to matters in their wards. The state of the railings has been discussed at the East Area Committee on which both City and County Councillors sit.

    I wonder if painting the railings would be a good project for councillors just giving permission, and setting a specification, allowing the public to help with the work (perhaps co-ordinated by the council?).

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Peter Roberts has tweeted me an update1,2,3.:

    I arranged a test paint 3 months ago, result means first section from bridge to SC is shortly being painted. In under two weeks.
    work may even start this week, I’m looking to paint until we run out of set aside funding (paint) it will be white for safety.
    so may well go beyond bridge. Hopefully quite far beyond.

    This is excellent news.

    I hope the job is done properly with a reasonable attempt made to brush off any old loose paint first. It should massively improve the appearance of the area.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Cllr Roberts has added: 1,2,3.:

      credit to Cllr Wright for her initial work, promised I’d get to the bottom of it in 2014 re-election, county now given permission to city to focus on phased painting, also hard work by an officer who we’ve posted for the last year. Costs reduced by not taking fence out to paint but carefully painting reverse and blocking slip drain to Cam during working on it to stop pollution.

    2. Richard Taylor Article author

      Yet more from Cllr Roberts, including a picture of a test area (though the colour to be used on the rest of railings is white):

      it’s about to begin just bridge to SC gate – but a good start. Will paint beyond bridge as far as funding allows as well. Not over

      type of finish can already be seen in test, colour deemed too dangerous for road users at night – hence now to be white

      I believe the same team who did the bridge (same paint type) are being used. We did look at community paint but had to careful due to proximity to Cam. So we thought best to get professionals in.

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    I tweeted


    Cllr Roberts replied:

    removing mooring ropes is not advisable! In this case it was a chain that couldn’t be moved down the railing easily, when the railings are painted properly it will be over a matter of days for touching up and working with boats to paint rope gaps.

    I’d assume, wait for paint either side of rope to dry then move the rope along and hit the gap.

    Between the bridge/S.Common section no red will feature, just white paint, any reflectors will be returned. also the railings bottoms have been getting a weeding on the stretch due for a painting not quite finished, team out during week

    Roberts commented further:

    notices will go up, there are several cars on the stretch for example. I’ll save the world from future details on how
    these railings will be painted, for my own sanity. A year in the making.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Please consider saying where you are from eg. "Cambridge".
Required fields are marked *


Powered by WP Hashcash