County boss defends Havant footbridge decision

NO CASH Mel Kendal
NO CASH Mel Kendal
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HAMPSHIRE’S transport leader has said he is ‘sympathetic’ to demands for a replacement footbridge over the railway at Havant.

But Councillor Mel Kendal said there simply wasn’t the cash to replace the rusty walkway in the near future.

His comments come as work begins to erect scaffolding to support the structure at the train station.

As reported, scaffolding could be in place for five years to support the bridge, which is owned by Hampshire County Council.

Cllr Kendal said: ‘We are sympathetic to the request for a replacement bridge sooner rather than later and the importance of this in the scope of the borough council’s plans for regeneration.

‘A like-for-like replacement would cost in the region of £1.5m and, in the current context of reduced budgets from central government and their decision to prioritise urban regeneration funding for the midlands and the north, I cannot promise we will be able to achieve a resolution of the situation in the near future.

‘Unfortunately, the amount of developer contributions available is not enough to cover the cost of replacing the bridge either. We are looking into alternative funding options however, and I can reassure you that the interim measures that have been put in place are capable of keeping the bridge safe and in use for up to five years.’

Havant Borough Council has called for an iconic bridge. Cllr Kendal said this would be ‘more expensive than a straightforward replacement’.