End of road for bridge?

PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:39 18 June 2010

RESTRICTING the weight of lorries into Sidmouth town centre would not mean a walkway from Manor Road car park to Connaught Gardens could be built lower.

RESTRICTING the weight of lorries into Sidmouth town centre would not mean a walkway from Manor Road car park to Connaught Gardens could be built lower.

Responding to comments made last week by Freddy Wedderburn, chairman of Sidmouth Millennium Walkway Group, County Councillor Stuart Hughes said any Boundary Committee decision on a unitary authority for Devon would have no effect on planning decisions.

"I think that is a red herring. Even if it was said we were going to have a unitary council for Devon, we are not going to see any change until 2011, the next date district councils would be standing for election.

"It doesn't make any odds," he said. "The height restriction is 5.7metres, and the walkway cannot be lower than that. It has to be that height for health and safety reasons."

"Not many large lorries go up Peak Hill, but this is the height restriction and it can't go any lower.

"There is no way of overcoming the height, so maybe it is the end of the road for the bridge."

He said the 7.5 ton weight restriction on lorries going through Lyme Regis did not apply to lorries making deliveries to businesses in the town only those passing through, although Brian Black, the walkway group's treasurer, disputes this, saying the signs just indicate a weight restriction.

Mr Hughes said: "There is another alternative that has been looked into with county traffic engineers - the provision of a zebra crossing along with road narrowing, creating a priority system and provision of a new footway on the southern side of Peak Hill Road leading up to the present entrance for disabled users to Connaught Gardens.

"This scheme would also see proper marked provision of a loading bay for vehicles delivering to the Clock Tower Restaurant."

Mr Wedderburn said the walkway group would be pursuing a footbridge scheme because it protected the elderly, disabled and mothers with prams from traffic.

"This is our simple objective, we would not be happy with a zebra crossing," he said.

Mr Black added: "At the moment we are hitting our head against a brick wall about the 5.7metre height restriction, but have not given that up just yet. No way will we abandon the bridge."

If it could be lowered one metre its access ramps could be reduced said Mr Black, who assured the Herald donations towards the project were secure.

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