Bid to shore up Harpford’s red bridge

Harpford's red bridge photographed from above last month by Aerial Photovision. Erosion has worsened

Harpford's red bridge photographed from above last month by Aerial Photovision. Erosion has worsened this week. - Credit: Archant

Harpford and Newton Poppleford’s elected representative is backing plans to shore up a key link between the villages from the threat of future erosion.

District councillor Val Ranger said previous proposals to relocate the ‘red bridge’ would have placed it in a less-stable, more flood-prone area on private land.

She thinks the money would be better spent shoring up the bank around the ‘perfectly sound’ footbridge – which has been further hit in this week’s storms.

Cllr Ranger said: “We have been directed to a number of companies who might be able to help us draw up plans and I am meeting with one this week.

“As yet, no funding for works has been secured, but we are hoping that once we present plans of a scheme to Devon County Council (DCC) and the Environment Agency that is acceptable to landowners, residents and the parish council, that a scheme can be funded.

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“The last thing we would wish to see is money spent on a scheme that is doomed to failure, such as the suggestion of relocating the bridge to Webbers Meadow and it spanning across to private land.”

The crossing links Harpford and Newton Poppleford without users having to walk along the busy A3052. It is also a popular section of the East Devon Way.

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DCC last year discussed relocating the bridge to safeguard the crossing, but Cllr Ranger said her consultation showed that users are overwhelmingly in favour of it remaining where it is.

They also share support with the Environment Agency for management of the shingle beach to prevent further erosion of the river bank.

The agency reported in 2004 and 2013 that taking action sooner rather later would prevent the problem worsening, but Cllr Ranger fears it is already too late.

Anyone who wants to respond to her survey can contact Cllr Ranger by emailing or calling 01395 568460.

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