An action group for cyclists in Spalding wants to see a planned housing scheme for the town linked to the improvement of Steppingstone Bridge.
Plans by Welland Homes, the housing company owned by South Holland District Council, to build ten homes on land off Parkside Crescent have been criticised by Spalding cycle action group Pedals.
Roger Smith, chairman of Pedals, claimed the “small scale residential scheme” could hold up any chance of improving the bridge by turning it into a ramp.
In a letter to the district council, Mr Smith said: “Steppingstone Bridge is an important link between Spalding’s residential areas west and north of the railway line, the town centre and destinations beyond the centre.
“If the steps to the bridge are replaced by ramps or, better still, replace the whole bridge, it will enable the benefits of the bridge to be enjoyed by a wider range of people, including cyclists and people in wheelchairs.
“Consequently, more people will be able to avoid traffic congestion and delays, especially at the Winsover Road and Park Road level crossings.
If the steps to the bridge are replaced by ramps, it will enable the benefits of the bridge to be enjoyed by a wider range of peopleRoger Smith, chairman of Pedals Cycle Action Group, Spalding
“The public, especially those who live west of the railway line, will no doubt welcome anything which can be done to relieve the pressure of traffic at the level crossings.”
Mr Smith and other Pedals members fear the council will ignore the development’s impact on improving the bridge “in the future, for wider public benefit”.
The group called for a feasibility study to be done to see “how much of the site should be reserved for the eventual improvement of Steppingstone Bridge to be ‘step free’”.
The letter on behalf of Pedals said: “In our opinion, the benefits of making the bridge step-free will be appreciated by a far greater number of people than those who will benefit from the proposed houses.
“South Holland District Council has a key role to play, not only as guardians of our environment and promoters of Spalding’s town centre, but also as owners of some of the land which may be needed for the construction of a ramped access to the bridge.”
Work on the bridge most recently took place a year ago when Network Rail put up new screening in order to stop people using the bridge from being able to look at the homes and gardens of people living nearby.
Mr Smith said: “Pedals is extremely concerned that the present proposal to develop land immediately to the west of Steppingstone Bridge could frustrate the opportunity to ever improve the bridge in the future by making it ‘step-free’.
“We have suggested a way forward to protect the opportunity of making the bridge more accessible so it can benefit a wider range of people who don’t have motor cars.”
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