Temporary bridge ‘will be considered’ for Finchingfield

Finchingfield bridge. Picture: Alison Connors

Finchingfield bridge. Picture: Alison Connors - Credit: citizenside.com

A temporary bridge will be considered for an Essex village threatened to be split in two after public pressure.

Essex County Council plans to shut the bridge in Finchingfield for four months next July for repair and widening.

Residents have been up in arms about the £380,000 plans, which will include a 15-mile detour to get from one side of the village to the other, and have been campaigning for a temporary bridge to be installed while work is carried out.

The bridge was closed for a week last month after a lorry crash, giving a taster of the potential disruption.

At a public meeting in the village on Tuesday Eddie Johnson, county councillor for highways development, told a packed hall of 400 people there was no budget for a temporary bridge which would “be double the money and the time”.

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However after hearing a range of views from the crowd, who had booed his comments about funds, Mr Johnson said: “I am prepared to look at how to juggle the budget. I will look at that. I will ask my officers to look again at the costings.”

Peter Godden-Kent, a first responder, was among those who spoke at the meeting. He warned the detour would cause accidents and delay ambulances and fire engines attending emergencies.

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“You have weighed the scales in money, not in terms of the lives in all the communities affected,” he said.

Linda Cutts, practice manager at Freshwell Health Centre, added: “When the bridge is closed doctors will be faced with a long diversion or using the possibly blocked lanes. Both could lead to life-threatening delays.”

Lisa Feldman, Finchingfield Primary School’s headteacher, told Mr Johnson: “I beg you to reconsider. My children and their parents will be using these unsafe shortcuts. One of these roads is in front of my school. It is usually a quiet road but it became dangerous during the bridge closure.”

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