A plan to create a unique link 50m high over the water between the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station at East India Dock to the New Millennium Experience (MEX) site on the Greenwich Peninsula on the other side of the River Thames has collapsed, it was announced on October 20th, 1998. It was granted outline planning permission at a meeting of the Greenwich Area Local Planning Committee of Greenwich Council on March 3rd, 1998.
The plan, which had overwhelming support from all the agencies involved in the Exhibition as well as from the ‘traditional’ transport providers, would have provided another plank in the overall concept of a ‘car-free’ MEX.
Orpington, Kent-based Meridian Cable Cars wanted the £8 million Meridian Skyway Project to operate for at least five years and estimated that it would be able to carry up to 5000 passengers an hour, charging a single £2 single fare for the three minute trip at five miles per hour. The system would have carried 15 people in each of its 23 ‘pods’, nine seated and six standing, an arrangement that will also potentially allow disabled users access to the facility in ‘off-peak’ hours. Operational hours were to be from one hour before, to one hour after the MEX closes (currently understood to be 10.00am to 11.00pm).
The proposal also included the use of alternative energy sources to power the heating and lighting of the pods by means of solar panels. Portable information headsets were also planned to provide information about local landmarks such as the Royal Naval College in Greenwich and the Canary Wharf tower.
Item first written for and published in the Westcombe News, the newsletter of the Westcombe Society, April 1998 by David Riddle
Sources: Some material from News Shopper, March 11, 1998, and the Greenwich Council Planning Committee Agenda for March 3, 1998
Project collapse reported on London Tonight, ITV, October 20th, 1998