Closure of Green Lane Footbridge
This is an update on the position regarding the footbridge over the River Mole from Green Lane to Neilsons Field, which was closed recently by Elmbridge Borough Council.
The condition of the footbridge has deteriorated significantly over recent years, and the Molesey Residents Association has been pressing for action to refurbish it for some time. Unfortunately there was some doubt about who was legally responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, and until this was resolved neither Elmbridge Borough Council nor Surrey County Council would take any action. Eventually it was established that Elmbridge was responsible for the bridge, and the Council then carried out an initial survey of the bridge as a preliminary step before embarking on a planned refurbishment. This is the position we reported in the latest Molesey Residents Association Newsletter.
As a next step the Council obtained a detailed structural survey of the bridge. Unfortunately this advised that the condition of the bridge had deteriorated to the extent that it could no longer safely continue to be used by pedestrians, and that they should close it. The survey also advised that the condition of the bridge was such that repairing it would not be a viable option, and that the best course of action would be to replace it.
Although we find it difficult to believe there is a genuine risk that the bridge might be about to collapse, the terms of the advice they have received meant that Council had no real option other than closure, as keeping it open would affect their insurance in the event of any accidents.
I have contacted the officers of the Council, and the relevant Cabinet portfolio holder, for urgent discussions about reopening the access from Green Lane to Neilsons Field. They have advised that the cost of replacing the bridge will be significant, and cannot therefore be met from the Council’s budget for the current financial year. I have been assured, however, that a bid for funds will be put forward for consideration as the Council develops its funding programme for the 2014/15 financial year.
Having been a regular user of the bridge I know that the closure has caused considerable inconvenience for some local residents. I can assure you that MRA Councillors will be doing everything possible to ensure this access to Neilsons Field is restored as soon as possible, and that we will keep you informed of progress in our Newsletters, and on our website.
Councillor Mike Axton
Molesey Residents Association