One of the 5 key projects of World Class Stratford was a new pedestrian bridge designed to cross the Avon by the existing (and only working example in England) chain ferry. Their original proposal stated the following objectives:
The proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge is designed to provide a number of benefits, including:
- a direct link for pedestrians and cyclists from the recreation ground and residential areas of Bridgetown, past the theatre and into town, improving access to schools and businesses. Tramway Bridge already provides this access, improved paving, and renovated footpaths would negate any new bridge construction.
- a safe cycling route which links into the national cycle network. Again, Tramway Bridge and the existing historic road bridge both have space for cycling and cost effective investment in cycle lanes would replace the need for costly bridge construction.
- better facilities for disabled people and those with pushchairs. Tramway Bridge is already easily accessible, however the existing Lucy’s Gate Bridge is in need of rework to meet modern accessibility requirements. However, this bridge was overlooked by WCS plans, strange since it links the recreation ground with a nationally recognised footpath.
- dispersal of congestion around the Bancroft Gardens. Hmmmm, isn’t another WCS goal to redevelop Bancroft gardens to reduce congestion, and how would another bridge accessing the recreation grounds do this exactly? Especially since the riverside walkway along the theatre has been removed and the carpark on the ‘rec’ is overpriced! Surely the Bancroft Crowds are there to be ‘in town’ or to go to the theatre, neither problem is addressed by the bridge proposal.
- a landmark feature which would be an attraction in its own right. Yes, a modern monstrosity alongside a historic landmark (the theatre), blocking the view from other historic landmarks (Clopton Bridge 1490, and Tramway Bridge, 1821) to the world famous landmark of Holy Trinity.
- providing an additional vantage point to view the Holy Trinity Church, remodelled Theatre and the river itself. Just in case you missed the comments above, the new bridge would give one new viewing platform whilst robbing the world famous views of the theatre and Holy Trinity. Nobody seemed to have considered the impact on the view of the theatre from the footpath on the recreation grounds opposite Holy Trinity.
When a public vote was called regarding the bridge 56% of the 2500 people who responded rejected all 5 proposals, and yet Warwickshire County Council ploughed on with press releases that accurately (but so full of New Labour spin) stated that 44% were in favour of the popular plan to build.
Finally however spiralling costs have drawn a close to what a lack of common sense could not and after already spending £312,000 on the doomed project Warwickshire County Council has called a halt and decided to cancel yet another of World Class Stratford’s poorly thought out, planned, and managed projects.
You can read full details of the bridge plans, images of the proposed designs, and the consultation reportson these Warwickshire County council webpages.
For some amazing views of the river that would be dramatically obscured by the new bridge got to Stratford-upon-Avon on 360Britain.co.uk.