Councillors’ support for Steppingstone efforts

Network Rail is being threatened with legal action if it doesn't clean up Spalding's Steppingstone Bridge.
Network Rail is being threatened with legal action if it doesn't clean up Spalding's Steppingstone Bridge.
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A BATTLE to clean up a “grot spot” bridge in Spalding is to step up a pace with a threat of legal action.

Steppingstone Bridge in Spalding has been plagued by vandalism and litter for many years with campaigners fighting to get landowner Network Rail to clean up its act.

But at a meeting of South Holland District Council last week, members agreed to get behind the effort to force the company to take action.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones asked for fellow councillors’ support in his plans to pursue the possibility of asking magistrates to issue a litter abatement notice.

The notice would force the company to clear the area or face legal action.

Coun Gambba-Jones told the meeting: “There is an ongoing issue at Steppingstone Bridge and what can only be described as the intransigence of Network Rail to any requests to do a better job.

“The bridge is a blight and an embarrassment to Spalding and I’m asking for your support for a letter to be sent to Network Rail to express our grave concerns.”

Problems include large quantities of litter under the bridge, repeated graffiti problems on the bridge’s enclosed sides, a lack of lighting and an unattractive fence.

Coun Gambba-Jones added: “The fence is something you would expect to see in the less pleasant areas of large inner cities that have been neglected for decades.

“That and the lack of lighting on the bridge make it a very unpleasant journey, particular for lone females.”

And he said the bridge gave the wrong impression of Spalding to visitors, thousands of whom would be in town at the beginning of next month for the flower parade.

He finished by saying: “I want to ask Network Rail to show a commitment to our community and address these issues not just once, but to keep on top of it, not only for Spalding but for the sake of the whole district.

“Visitors will think twice about coming again because the bridge gives the impression we just don’t care.”

Councillors agreed to support Coun Gambba-Jones’ campaign, with Coun Gary Porter saying previous letters sent to Network Rail about the “serious Spalding grot spot” had been blatantly ignored and that it was time to take a stand.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “The next stage, which I have already started, is to tell them I’m applying to the magistrates for a litter abatement notice.

“As far as I know, it has never got that far and they usually respond to a warning that it’s going to court.”