Campus key for new Fletton Quays Bridge

Site of proposed bridge over River Nene from South Bank site EMN-170717-163313009
Site of proposed bridge over River Nene from South Bank site EMN-170717-163313009
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A new foot and cycle bridge could be built over the River Nene - if the new University of Peterborough is built near-by.

The Build The Bridge campaign was launched last week, with the aim of getting enough support to construct the link to the new development, which will see a large amount of office space and 280 homes built south of the river.

Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich said a new bridge could cost up to £2.5 million - but in his column in the Peterborough Telegraph this week said the crossing could be part of the new university campus.

He said: “One of the sites we are considering for the campus is the Embankment - and the footbridge will be a foremost consideration should the university be positioned there in years to come. I can’t knock those who want the bridge now - however I can’t promise that.”

He also called for ideas on how to raise funds for the project.

A motion was due to be raised by Labour councillor Richard Ferris at last Wednesday’s meeting of Peterborough City Council - but the meeting was postponed, and took place last night. The issue was due to be raised by cllr Matthew Mahabadi last night, as cllr Ferris was unable to attend the meeting.

Cllr Mahabadi said: “This is very much Richard’s baby and it is an honour to bring it to the council.

“I hope this does help push the bridge forward - this is a very emotive issue for people in Peterborough, and as a council we need to be seen to deliver what people want in Peterborough. We have had talk about councillors buffets in the past, and we need to move away from that to deliver for the city. We are meant to be the green capital, and bringing something like this, to link the new development and encourage more interaction with the arts is a big part of that.”

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity - have named bridges which the new crossing could be based on - naming some that have been built in Cambridgeshire and others built further afield.

The charity identified Willow Bridge in St Neots, Reach Lode Bridge, Cambridgeshire, Skelton Bridge in Leeds and Workington, Cumbria as potential designs which could be used.

A spokesman said the aesthetics of the bridge were not as important as making safe and accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists to use.

He said: “The recent articles on Rhubarb Bridge, Bridge Street and Fletton Quays, have definitely got people talking about the importance of providing safe, continuous and coherent routes for pedestrians and cyclists across Peterborough; 
which we welcome, and encourage the city council to act upon.”

However, Toby Wood, vice chairman of the Peterborough Civic Society said the bridge could be an integral part of the new development.

He said the crossing could be used as a memorial to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and said: “The momentum for the bridge is building nicely - we have had quite a few emails from people saying it is a good idea and it is do-able -and people who are surprised a bridge was not part of the original plans for the development - I suspect a trick was missed with that one.

“It is about time Peterborough made more of its river - so many other cities have done so much, but we don’t have much. I was looking at the riverside the other day, and there are lots of ducks and geese, and all the issues they bring,and the trees are a bit bedraggled - if we smarten it up, it will be a real asset to the city.

“The new bridge has to be aesthetically pleasing if it is going to be a part of that.”