Wrangle over footbridge lighting finally over

Steppingstone Bridge in Spalding.
Steppingstone Bridge in Spalding.

A LONG-running saga over providing lighting for a footbridge in Spalding finally appears to be coming to an end.

For months, rail commuters and pedestrians looking to take a shortcut between Park Road and King’s Road over Steppingstone Bridge have been forced to cross in the dark.

The bridge’s one and only light has been broken – and Lincolnshire County Council and Network Rail have been at loggerheads over who should be responsible for maintaining it.

However, following talks between the two organisations and intervention from South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes, agreement has finally been reached.

Stan Hall, the county council’s principal engineer, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve managed to find a solution with Network Rail.

“It means that people will be able to cross the bridge much more easily when it’s dark. We are also very pleased that Network Rail has committed to fund the majority of the cost.”

The broken lamppost is behind a security fence on railway land meaning the council’s engineers do not have access to it.

The authority wanted to remove it unless Network Rail would agree to take over the responsibility of maintaining it safely.

Network Rail had refused the request and insisted arrangements were in place for council workers to access the light.

Now agreement has been made, bridge users will see a new light fitted – but not until March.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, a member of Spalding Town Forum, has been following the saga closely. He said: “I do not know what kind of light they are going to put up but I hope it will light up both sides of the bridge.

“It’s not a very pleasant area with what Network Rail have done with the fencing.”

In October, Coun Gambba-Jones had raised concerns about public safety and urged pedestrians not to take any unnecessary risks by crossing the footbridge in the dark.

He had also revealed councillors had been exploring what legal action could be taken to force the light to be fixed.