REDDITCH Borough Council has set aside £200,000 for the demolition of the old railway bridge over Green Lane, despite offering it to local authorities in Warwickshire for free ‘warts and all’.
The borough wants to demolish the bridge, now part of a traffic-free route linking Studley with Redditch, and build two new homes on land it owns close by.
Walkers and cyclists would then be forced to cross Green Lane at street level, bringing them into direct conflict with cars.
The road is a popular rat-run between the A448 Slough Road and Redditch Road.
The bridge is in Warwickshire but was inherited by Redditch from the Redditch Development Corporation.
Road safety has been further hit with the zebra crossing over the route to the new estate behind the Alexandra Hospital being removed. This offered some degree of protection for walkers and cyclists who before the estate was built had a peaceful tree-lined car-free path, part of Sustrans Route 5.
“We don’t think the council in Redditch knows what it are doing,” said Stratford District Councillor Peter Hencher Serafin (Lib Dem, Studley and Mappleborough Green), who also sits on Studley Parish Council.
“On the one hand they offer the bridge to us for nothing and on the other they put in two planning applications for the site.”
He added he understood those planning applications had both been declared invalid on the grounds of biodiversity – the route is a highly regarded wildlife haven – and the trees that would be affected.
“Redditch Borough Council has come out with a number of versions of why the bridge has to come down, from it being unsafe to the cost of maintaining it, but it was inspected in 2018 by Warwickshire County Council and it will be inspected again this year and as far as they are concerned the bridge is in good condition,” said Coun Hencher-Serafin.
A petition to save the bridge has collected more than 2,500 signatures and will be presented to Stratford District Council by Coun Hencher-Serafin, who also plans to present it to Warwickshire County Council.
The government this week pledged £5billion over five years to boost cycling and bus services.