Digital Book of Landscapes



Neil Manthorpe
Associate Director - Design

“Portsmouth Road is a brilliant scheme. Whether you want to pop down to the river, walkaround the local area, or cycle safely into the centre of Kingston, these improvements will benefit everyone”

- Val Shawcross Deputy Mayor for Transport

As part of the Mini Holland investment in cycling in the outer London Boroughs, the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames commissioned Atkins, Member of the SNC-Lavalin group to revitalise the riverfront and deliver a 1.6km two way segregated cycle track and public realm access improvements to the adjoining Queens Promenade riverfront.

The brief called on Atkins to deliver on the Mayor’s and TfL`s manifesto to deliver healthy streets for all revitalising the riverfront and connect into the wider network of proposed and existing cycle routes across the borough. Portsmouth Road runs parallel to the River Thames and was a wide vehicle dominated route into central Kingston that segregated surrounding residential areas and Kingston university from the Riverside Conservation Area of Queens Promenade fronting onto the River Thames. The Queens Promenade runs parallel to and below the street level of Portsmouth Road and had poor access, high maintenance planting, dilapidated seating, failing walls, cracked footways and no focal points or celebration of the rich history of the promenade. This landmark project was successfully delivered and officially opened in by Val Shawcross the Deputy Mayor for Transport of London (at the time).

Project Objectives

  • Doubling the level of cycling in the first three years of the programme
  • 400% increase in cycling within ten years of the programme delivery starting.
  • In the longer term, the aspiration for one in five trips made by bike.
  • To substantially increase the amount of cycling in the borough.
  • To improve the quality of the public realm.
  • To support the vitality and viability of our town, district and local centres.
  • To transform the environment for walking and cycling in the borough.
  • To provide a high quality, high capacity cycle network of interconnecting .routes that form an identifiable core network.
  • To encourage more cycling among ‘hard to reach’ groups.
  • To improve safety for cyclists.

To take the design from concept through to implementation for all of the public realm areas particularly focused on the riverfront enhancements of Queens Promenade. The Atkins transport planning team led the design of the highway alterations, pedestrian crossings and junction alterations. Kingston Upon Thames were an engaged client throughout the scheme and facilitated much of the consultation with Atkins actively involved. The project sponsors TfL provided regular design review advice. Kier were the contractor we supervised during the construction works.

Queens Promenade was the first of Kingston’s landmark cycling schemes delivered as part of the Mini Holland programme. It is a primary route into Kingston town centre and alleviates the reliance on vehicular traffic. The project highlights the historic significance of Queens Promenade and Hampton Court. It delivers on the Mayor’s manifesto to deliver healthy streets for all.

Innovative solutions were required throughout with the use of narrow retaining walls to retain mature London Planetrees, access ramps and terraced seating built into the landform, integrated SUDs drainage throughout, the use of drought tolerant permaculture planting, introduction of shared use spaces and shared use bus stops.

This scheme deserved its award because Queens Promenade has exceeded expectations in the transformation of the riverfront.

Targets for cyclist numbers have been exceeded, sustainability credentials achieved and wide ranging public realm improvements realised. The project has demonstrated the benefits of having a landscape architect lead the design integration of cycling with public realm improvements ensuring the riverfront has been opened up to all to enjoy and the cycle route successfully integrated with the character and setting of Kingston uponThames.

The design has

  • Revitalised the river front
  • Delivered on the Mayor’s healthy streets agenda
  • Created a strategic and sustainable transport route
  • Opened up access for all to river front
  • Provided innovative seating terraces, planting and integrated SUDs.

“It’s wonderful that Kingston shares the ambition… to make cycling a safer and easier option for residents across the borough. This fantastic new scheme not only links Surbiton and Kingston with a calm and safe cycle route, but also improves their iconic riverside for pedestrians. Getting more people walking and cycling can really improve quality of life for everyone–improving our health, tackling poor air quality, and improving our high streets”

- Will Norman
London’s first full-time Walking and Cycling Commissioner