‘Aggressive’ stance in fight to get bridge lighting

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LEGAL action is being considered in the fight to get a controversial bridge in Spalding lit up.

Councillors on Spalding Town Forum are investigating what they can do to force lighting to be put up on Steppingstone Bridge because of fears over public safety.

Residents and commuters using the bridge, which links Park Road and Kings Road, have been forced to cross in the dark in recent months because of an ongoing dispute over who is responsible for maintaining the lighting.

Now, members of the Spalding Town Forum have vowed to take an “aggressive” stance to resolve the problem.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said: “The town forum is becoming a little bit more militant about things.

“It’s a ridiculous situation. People are taking the risk of using the bridge in the hours of darkness. There is a genuine fear because of the design.”

The design of the bridge means it is impossible to see who may be on the bridge before the user has climbed the stairs – an issue made worse since it is now in darkness.

Lincolnshire County Council says its one lamp post, which no longer works, is now behind a security fence on railway land meaning engineers do not have access to it.

The authority wanted to remove it unless Network Rail agreed to take over responsibility for maintaining it safely.

However, Network Rail has refused to take over responsibility and insists it had made arrangements to provide access to the light for county council workers.

The cost of installing a new light in a different location would be about £3,500.

Talks between representatives from both organisations are ongoing.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “We are going to see if we can use some legal instrument to bring forward the public safety issue. What that entails I do not know but we’re going to look and see if we can put some pressure on Network Rail.

“Reasoning does not appear to be serving any benefit.”

In the meantime, Coun Gambba-Jones is urging pedestrians not to put themselves at risk and, if they see a crime being committed, to report it to the police.

“If we are going to put pressure on Network Rail we need to build up a case and we need evidence that our concerns are genuine about public safety,” he added.