“IF they want it they can have for it for free – warts and all.”
That was the message to local authorities in south Warwickshire from Redditch Borough Council Leader Matt Dormer as the drive to save the old railway bridge over Green Lane between Redditch and Studley intensifies.
Cash-strapped Redditch, which needs to save £1.2million, says the bridge was damaged by a lorry hitting it this year and an annual survey of the structure with scaffolding costs would cost about £5,000 – which the borough can’t afford.
“The bridge is deteriorating and although it’s not going to fall down anytime soon it’s an ongoing cost to the council,” said Coun Dormer.
“It’s of no value and there are loads of them across the country.
“It does need work doing to it and that work is quite expensive. The best way forward is to re-jig the footpath and straighten the road.
“I do realise people want to save the bridge but as a council we cannot afford to keep it and if Warwickshire County Council, Stratford District Council or Studley Parish Council want it they can have it, for free, warts and all.”
His comments came after a Studley Parish Council meeting heard that an inspection by Warwickshire County Council in September 2018 rated the condition of the bridge as ‘Good’.
The bridge these days carries a walking and cycle path, Sustrans Route 5, between Studley and Nine Days Lane in Redditch.
However earlier this year Redditch Councillors declared the bridge unsafe, voted to demolish it, level the embankment, build two four bedroom houses there and straighten the road out – even though Warwickshire is the highways authority.
The cycle path and walkway would be re-routed across Green Lane at street level, putting pedestrians directly into conflict with traffic.
At the Tuesday night’s Parish Council meeting Coun Matt Fox said: “We need to ask Redditch on what basis they are taking their information that this bridge is in poor condition. They need to substantiate it, because we have the latest report and it says the bridge is in near pristine condition.”
This was unanimously agreed by Councillors.
The bridge, although in Warwickshire, came under the control of Redditch Development Corporation when there were plans to build a Studley bypass.
A petition to save the bridge has been started – to sign it, visit https://bit.ly/2rVRpG8 .