‘Round one’ to residents in row over Bognor Regis railway footbridge

ks180331-1 Bog Bridge Anger  phot kate'David Gill by the bridge in South Bersted.ks180331-1 SUS-181007-185147008
ks180331-1 Bog Bridge Anger phot kate'David Gill by the bridge in South Bersted.ks180331-1 SUS-181007-185147008

Controversial works to replace a railway footbridge in Ivy Lane have been delayed, with those opposed claiming ‘a mini victory’.

Network Rail had been due to begin work on Monday this week on the project, which has seen concern from residents about the new bridge overlooking their properties and it being lifted into place using a crane.

But this week, county councillor Francis Oppler wrote to residents that the works had been delayed because the necessary permissions were not in place to close a public right of way.

Network Rail has said the ‘very old’ bridge needs replacing for safety reasons.

Resident David Geall, who lives next to the bridge, has welcomed the delay. He said: “It’s round one to us, it’s bought us a bit of time.”

Mr Oppler said: “It’s a mini victory in terms of that it’s halted.

“What we need to do now is to get what residents want and go back to Network Rail and go right back to the start of the process.”

He said there had not been sufficient consultation with nearby homeowners, who are worried the new bridge will devalue their properties as it will be higher and closer to the residential area.

While he understood a redesign could be costly, he said it was important to get it right.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We successfully applied to Arun District Council for planning permission and have since built the approved replacement bridge off-site ready for installation.

“The bridge needs to comply with modern building regulations to ensure people with poor mobility can make use of it, therefore the design is different to the old one.

“We now need to apply to the council to temporarily divert the public footpath while we carry out the work.

“We have contacted residents and hosted a public meeting. We are now also in discussions with cllr Oppler and look forward to meeting him to discuss any further concerns.”