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Duo still determined over footbridge

10:23 25 March 2014

Sidmouth residents Freddy Wedderburn and Brian Black hope to get the green light to build a bridge connecting Manor Road car park to Connaught Gardens. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7696-13-13AW

Sidmouth residents Freddy Wedderburn and Brian Black hope to get the green light to build a bridge connecting Manor Road car park to Connaught Gardens. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7696-13-13AW


CAMPAIGNERS who have been battling for a footbridge over Peak Hill Road for 13 years say they are as ‘determined as ever’ – despite another setback.

Freddy Wedderburn hopes public support can make highways bosses change their minds after they issued proposals for a link from the Manor Road car park to Connaught Gardens another rebuttal.

Freddy and friend Brian Black believe a £125,000 walkway will make it safer for young and old – especially mums with children - to travel from one spot to the other.

But Devon County Council (DCC) will not sanction the bridge at its current proposed height and says it must clear the road by 18ft 8in – the same as a structure spanning a motorway. Freddy and Brian insist the crossing will be safe at 15ft and meeting the council’s demands will nearly treble costs to £350,000.

They argue that Peak Hill Road should not be treated as a major road as it is a ‘meandering country lane’.

Freddy was told again late last year that DCC will not allow a ‘low bridge’ over the highway.

“After all this time I feel it’s about time common sense prevailed,” he said.

“People stop you in the street and ask ‘when are we going to get the bridge?’.

“We are as determined as ever to have this footbridge built.”

He aded that emergency services said their vehicles would be able to reach call-outs if the bridge were in place and added: “It will provide a huge benefit for all visitors by means of a simple and safe method of reaching Connaught Gardens directly from the car park.”

Freddy wants people to write in to the Herald and make their views known. He hopes that public demand can influence the council’s stance.

DCC has long said it will not accept a ‘substandard’ height clearance for a new bridge over its highway network – and would object to any plans.

The council says it has offered alternatives to the bridge including a zebra crossing, a section of footway with disabled access to Connaught Gardens and narrowing of the road with a priority system.

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