Highly anticipated scrutiny meeting for Peterborough’s Rhubarb Bridge to be streamed live

Rhubarb Bridge
Rhubarb Bridge
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A highly anticipated scrutiny meeting which will look to overturn the replacement scheme for Rhubarb Bridge is to be streamed live.

Due to the public interest in the future of the bridge Peterborough City Council has taken the unprecedented step to put the scrutiny meeting on Facebook Live having recently used the same tool to stream a full council meeting for the first time.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is to be held at the Town Hall in Bridge Street from 7pm tonight (Tuesday, August 29).

The meeting is only being held after councillors called-in the decision by the ruling Conservative cabinet to award a £5.5 million contract to Skanska to demolish Rhubarb Bridge and replace it with a series of Toucan crossings, alongside further alterations.

The scheme was labelled unsafe by its critics and a petition against it was immediately launched.

The funding for the project was agreed in the council’s 2017/18 budget, but councillors are frustrated that the scheme was agreed before a public consultation had been held.

The councillors want to see the decision overturned to allow for further options to be looked at.

The current plans would see the crossings installed at the roundabout separating Lincoln Road (by Brotherhood Retail Park) and Bourges Boulevard, including on the A47 slip roads, with extra lanes put in for motorists.

Council cabinet member Cllr Peter Hiller said Rhubarb Bridge has come to “the end of its life.”

He added that the new scheme will improve traffic flow and accessibility for all users, and that replacing Rhubarb Bridge with a “network of bridges” could cost up to £30 million.

Since the call-in was announced the Peterborough Telegraph has revealed that the council has had a re-think due to public feedback and is now looking to use its money to repair the bridge so it can remain for a few more years, allowing for time to seek funding for a direct replacement.

However, council leader Cllr John Holdich said if extending the bridge’s life is not possible, the proposed scheme with crossings is likely to be followed through.

Should the call-in at tonight’s Growth, Environment and Resources Scrutiny Meeting be successful, Cllr Hiller will be asked to reconsider his decision following feedback from councillors and the public.

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