£400K for Ottery footbridge bid

PUBLISHED: 13:01 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:21 17 June 2010

VITAL funding that will see a £700,000 footbridge provide a safer pedestrian link for Ottery s residents and school children has been secured.

VITAL funding that will see a £700,000 footbridge provide a safer pedestrian link for Ottery's residents and school children has been secured.

A £400,000 cash-injection in the last 10 days has signalled a remarkable turnaround for the long-awaited project to provide a footbridge and cycleway form the Tumbling Weir to the Thorne Park Estate, which faced being scrapped last Wednesday.

Work is now expected to begin within the next year.

It is hoped the route, which would see a new bridge span the River Otter and an adjacent field, would offer hundreds of children, who currently walk to The King's School along narrow pavements on the busy Barrack Road, safer passage as well as a more convenient link for residents.

Last week EDDC's executive board unanimously backed the floundering bid, saving it from the chop, and pledged £101,500 to its cost. Devon County Council said it will match this sum.

Hot on the heels of the project being saved, the Cycling England Links to Schools Programme confirmed a £200,000 contribution, helping reach the estimated £700,000 cost.

Ottery district councillor David Cox said: "The proposal will help link the town and overcome difficult and potentially dangerous access. The scheme will enhance pedestrian safety, link with the national cycleway and form a key part in the regeneration of Ottery."

Fellow EDDC ward member Roger Giles said: "This project is vitally important and a good deal of work has been invested to date."

Ottery's town council will now see the £32,000 it splashed out on a field for the project pay dividends.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: "There is a lot of local support and we now want to see the scheme progress with some urgency for the benefit of the town."

The Ottery scheme was handed £150,000 after forming part of successful Sustrans Connect2 bid, which won ITV's People's £50 million Lottery Giveaway in 2007 with the help of Westcountry adventurer Jason Lewis and Olympian Jo Pavey, a former pupil at The King's School.

The Environment Agency has injected £55,000 into the bid with a further £112,000 in development money being set aside for it for more than ten years.

Connect2 will improve walking and cycling links at 79 locations around the country. EDDC said it will work with DCC to create a new route in Ottery that will benefit walkers, cyclists and schoolchildren.

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