FUNDING of up to £50,000 has been set aside to kick-start plans for an iconic bridge over a railway.
The footbridge over Havant railway station is more than 40 years old, heavily corroded and has been propped up by scaffolding for the past three years.
Councillors in Havant have been fighting to get Hampshire County Council, which is responsible for the bridge, to either repair or replace it.
Five years ago £500,000 was set aside for the work in the county council’s capital budget but financial constraints led to it being taken out and nothing has happened since.
Now Havant Borough Council has agreed to spend £50,000 of community infrastructure levy cash – the money given by developers to the community – to carry out a feasibility study into costs, options and construction.
David Keast is a Havant and Hampshire councillor.
He has been working to get the bridge replaced for five years.
He said: ‘The sad part about this is we have a brand new Plaza, the council’s point of administration for the community, and we have the worst footbridge from the town centre that you can imagine.
‘It’s an eyesore, a blot on the landscape. It’s not just past its sell-by date, it’s dreadful. It looks a mess and has scaffolding holding it up. Havant has an aspiration to bring the town into the 21st century but the bridge looks terrible.’
Plans for regeneration of Market Parade have also been put forward.
Andrew Biltcliffe, service manager for planning policy at Havant Borough Council said it is working with the county council and Network Rail, whose land it passes over.
He added: ‘As the footbridge should be an integral part in transforming the station area and Market Parade, Havant Borough Council will be working with public and private bodies to secure investment in the bridge and the wider transformation of the town centre.’