Donor steps forward to replace Ottery bridge
PUBLISHED: 07:01 08 April 2019
A footbridge will be replaced after an anonymous donation came forward to fund the work.
Ottery Town Council announced on Monday the Land of Canaan bridge will be restored, and not at the £55,000 costed by the district council.
Work will commence at some point after the town and district elections on May 2.
The bridge, which crossed over the Mill Leat, was removed in 2017 by the district council and was not replaced due to the existence of a second bridge 80 metres away – only adding 90 seconds onto a walk to the Tumbling Weir.
The town council made two unsuccessful bids to East Devon District Council (EDDC) for money towards the crossing, firstly for 18,000 in 2017 and then £55,000 in 2018 – estimates both obtained by EDDC.
Local councillors from both authorities challenged the increased estimate in January, after the second bid was rejected by EDDC’s capital strategy and allocation group.
EDDC said the estimate covered the size and quality of the bridge and allowed for additional works such as access and footings for the new structure.
At the time, district councillors Peter Faithfull and Roger Giles said the cost seemed ‘excessive’ and ‘outrageous’.
At Monday’s meeting, Councillor Glyn Dobson said: “The bridge is going ahead at a rate of knots. We have agreed now to put the bridge there and it will be funded by a local member of the community.
“All this talk of £55,000 to put the bridge over, we have negotiated a different deal.”
The bridge’s final design has been submitted but is yet to be approved.
Cllr Dobson told the meeting: “We are waiting now for the legal department at East Devon to give us permission to land on either side as the property is owned by them. They were going to do it but they cannot do anymore work until May because of the election. In May hopefully they will do the legal work and there will be a new bridge over the leat. There is no cost to the town council.”