Barnes could get its own garden bridge – similar to the controversial project in central London – after an agreement with Network Rail has been struck ‘in principle’.

The brainchild of Barnes town centre manager Emma Robinson, the plan is to create a ‘green promenade’ on a disused section of the Victorian Barnes Bridge, which crosses the Thames into Chiswick.

The original Barnes Bridge was built in 1846 as a single-track cast-iron railway, but in 1895 a new bridge was built parallel to it for a second railway track and a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The first bridge, approximately 2.8 metres wide, was closed shortly after, and was granted Grade II-listed status in 1983.

Discussions between Mrs Robinson and Network Rail have begun, with the aim to strike a deal for the Barnes Community Association (BCA) to ‘adopt’ the disused bridge, although it would ultimately remain under the control of Network Rail.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Network Rail said it was open to the garden bridge proposal, tentatively named the Barnes Garden Link, and it would move forward with the idea of split ownership in a way which would safeguard the railway.

Mrs Robinson said: “This idea came out of a community initiative we held in 2013 called the Barnes Ponder, and it has grown from there.

“It’s really a visionary project and, although there is still much to do, we’re making good progress.

“It would be a real monument to our industrial heritage, as well as giving Barnes residents something they can really be proud of.”

After securing a deal with Network Rail, Mrs Robinson said the next step would be a feasibility study and full costing of the project, which would allow them to apply for grants.

Those targeted include grants from the Mayor of London and the National Lottery Fund.

The concept is to create a ‘green walkway’, dotted with benches which offer views of the river, similar to the proposed London Garden Bridge between Waterloo and Blackfriars, set to open in 2018.

It will also adopt aspects of the High Line in New York, the Promenade Plantee in Paris, Peckham's Coal Line and Liverpool's Friends of the Flyover, Mrs Robinson said.

The project has attracted support from residents, Barnes’ ward councillors and Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith, who is also a Barnes resident.

Mr Goldsmith has been in contact with Network Rail and talks have been ‘very positive’, he said.

He said: “They have put together a really exciting proposal and I will continue to support it.

“I have been in contact with the head of Network Rail who has been very positive.

“There are challenges ahead, not least fundraising, but I am confident the community will get behind the scheme.”