PLANS for an iconic bridge to help regenerate Havant town centre still look far from coming to fruition.
Leaders at Hampshire County Council said strain on its budget means it can only provide £500,000 towards the cost of a replacement footbridge next to Havant railway station.
The cost for a similar replacement bridge would be around £1m, but a unique design would cost a lot more.
Havant Borough Council has had an ambition for many years to build an iconic bridge to help kick-start the regeneration of Market Parade and link its offices, the police station and job centre with the rest of the town.
The current footbridge, around 40 years old, is heavily corroded and has been propped up by scaffolding for the past two years.
Despite being disappointed by the news from the county council, Havant’s leader Tony Briggs was still optimistic.
He said: ‘The bottom line is that the £500,000 that the county was putting up is only part of the cost anyway.
‘Clearly we need to find funding from elsewhere.
‘While I would like to see an iconic bridge there, at this moment in time we have not even got a design for it.
‘We don’t have a cost for an iconic bridge.’
He added: ‘We need to be talking to developers, we need to be talking to the county council, Network Rail and other agencies who are involved to ensure we get a good outcome and a good link across the railway.’
Councillor Sean Woodward, head of transport at the county council, said: ‘Havant has identified the need for a new structure as part of their regeneration ambitions for the wider area, and we are sympathetic to those ambitions.
‘However, such a structure is likely to be more expensive, and with our much-reduced capital transport funding which is under great pressure, together with the damage caused by last winter and recent weather, it is unlikely that the county council could fund anything over and above a basic replacement footbridge.’
He added that extra cash may be possible through economic development funding available to Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Cllr Woodward said a new footbridge could take a long time to agree upon because feasibility studies will be needed to minimise travel disruption.