A MULTI-MILLION pound bridge could be built across the Avon in Warwick.
Warwick District Council officers say the bridge linking St Nicholas’ Park and Myton Fields would improve access to the town centre.
They claim the bridge, which could cost up to £4million, would be beneficial to pupils at schools including Myton and Warwick, existing residents, and those who will be living in the some 5,000 homes currently being built nearby.
Councillors were yesterday (Wednesday) also set to discuss improving the current Myton Fields car park to make it accessible all year and allow it to cater for an expected rise in traffic if a bridge were built.
If plans are given the go ahead, designing the bridge and car park could be done in the form of a competition for architects and engineers – similar to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall where a budget was given and plans submitted by competitors.
Councillors were expected to give the green light to recommendations which would see £60,000 released from council reserves to look into the viability of a bridge and car park and the potential launch of a competition.
But former Warwick councillor Linda Bromley was concerned no public consultation had been carried out.
She told the Observer: “Why is a £60,000 study for a new bridge going for approval before a public consultation is carried out?
“Will our councillors carefully consider that the possible £4million final cost is exorbitant and there are other community requirements.
She was also concerned at the impact any new bridge would have on the existing Castle Bridge just 400 metres away with its famous view of the castle.
Mrs Bromley also raised concern over the possible risk of flooding.
But council officers argue the bridge would be an asset to the town and improve safety due to the expected increase in traffic when nearby housing developments were completed.
They have also had talks with both Warwickshire County Council and Historic England who have agreed “an appropriately designed bridge” over the Avon could potentially have benefits for pedestrians and cyclists.
Spokesman for development Coun Stephen Cross said: “If the bridge proposal were to progress it would represent a huge investment in Warwick Town Centre and we will be looking for the feasibility study to demonstrate that the new bridge will bring the positive improvements to the town centre for businesses and residents that we currently envisage.”
Warwick District Council has suggested if the plans go ahead they could be joined in funding the project with Warwickshire County Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and money from housing developers.