Protecting and conserving built heritage while delivering a major infrastructure programme
Britain’s railway heritage is the world’s richest. Along with churches and government departments, the railway industry is one of the most significant owners of historic premises and structures. As the railways experience their biggest investment since Victorian times there is a need to protect and conserve their rich history and heritage.
Preserving our historic environment is also recognised as a key component of delivering sustainable infrastructure programmes. Delivering the Thameslink Programme (TLP) had heritage impacts both in operation and construction. To minimise this impact the programme worked closely with local authorities and English Heritage to protect and conserve heritage at a number of locations including Farringdon, Blackfriars, Borough Market and London Bridge as well as including this commitment in the TLP Sustainability Strategy.
Britain’s and Thameslink Programme’s railway heritage
Britain’s railway heritage includes a wide range of types of buildings and structures, many of which were first devised in this country to meet the needs of the new railways. Every style and material is represented in its architecture and engineering. This heritage is still growing: railway buildings completed as recently as 1966 have now been listed. The 681 railway buildings and structures listed in 1985 in England, Scotland and Wales had increased to some 1,650 by 2009; Ancient Monuments increased from 45 to over 100 in the same period, while numerous parts of the railway estate fall within Conservation Areas.
Delivering TLP impacted upon the Grade II listed station building at Farringdon and London Bridge, the listed southern abutment of the former West Blackfriars and St Paul Rail bridge at Blackfriars and the conservation areas of Borough High Street and Tooley Street South. The programme worked collaboratively with the supply chain and regulators to minimise the impacts to the built heritage in these areas through the following approaches.
A sustainable Thameslink Programme
Sustainability was right at the heart of Thameslink Programme and our vision was to ‘deliver transport benefits to budget that represents value for money and creates an overall positive impact on the community and the environment’.
To do this we worked to ensure that not only did we achieve the highest standards in sustainability, but we upheld them on all fronts. As part of our vision TLP committed ‘To identify and manage sites during construction where heritage is to be maintained and enhanced.’