I understand that a new footbridge proposed by ARK has been approved by the Town Council.
This bridge just a few hundred yards from the existing bridge is supposed to provide a “circular walk”.
I have heard that it will cost over £30,000 . If this figure is correct it is a scandalous waste of charity money. It will also degrade the environmental value of the river so lauded by ARK.
A small amount of money could be put to good use by laying some hardcore along the riverside path which is a muddy mess for a lot of the year and a circular path could be made around the meadow.
Perhaps the Town Council and ARK could stop this outrageous waste of money and help preserve the wildlife at the same time. There are many bird species that use this part of the river and the endangered water voles live in the banks.
Marlborough.news has looked to clarify exactly what the position is. Minutes from two recent (Feb, June) Amenities & Open Space Committee meetings outline what has / has not been agreed to date. It can be seen that whilst the idea of a new bridge has been accepted in principle, no costs have yet been accepted or agreed, likewise the source of funding required. It appears that funding will be from sources other than precept – i.e. it won’t come from the pockets of the community. Likely a mix of CIL and external funding arranged by ARK. Below are the relevant minutes of such meetings. It appears that this is still a live issue, with decisions regarding siting, construction and funding yet to be made.
Meeting – 3.2.20 – Annual Review of the Stonebridge Meadow Management Plan. Following a public meeting about progress of the Management Plan on 22 January 2020, Members considered two amendments to the Plan:
• To include a proposed access via Stonebridge Close
• To include a proposed footbridge to join the Meadow to the boardwalk
Cllr. Ross wholeheartedly endorsed the proposed bridge which would remove the current cul de sac at the end of the boardwalk, recommending that supporting this project should be a priority for the Town Council, with possible financial assistance.
RESOLVED: (ii) that one amendment to the Management Plan was approved (a new footbridge over the Kennet)
Meeting 22.6.2020 – New bridge project. One quotation had been received to date, with two more expected. Costs and types of material were discussed. Once all quotations had been received it would be possible to estimate the overall cost and decide on an approach to funding, for example whether donations or funding might be sought from third parties such as the North Wessex Downs AONB or the Town Council.