Scheme to replace Rhubarb Bridge put on hold after Peterborough City Council decision is called-in

Residents at the Salvation Army Citadel see the plans
Residents at the Salvation Army Citadel see the plans

A controversial scheme to knock down Rhubarb Bridge and replace it with a series of crossing has been put on hold after the decision was called-in by Peterborough city councillors.

The £5.5 million scheme, unveiled last Wednesday by the council, showed a series of Toucan crossings will be 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.

The plans to replace Rhubarb Bridge. The proposed new crossings are in light blue

The plans to replace Rhubarb Bridge. The proposed new crossings are in light blue

However, safety concerns were immediately raised, and there was anger from councillors that a decision to award a contract to Skanska to carry out the works was agreed before a public consultation had taken place.

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.

The call-in, signed by Liberal Democrat councillors Nick Sandford and Darren Fower, and Labour member Cllr Angus Ellis, states: “The public is effectively being informed what has already been decided, rather than being consulted on it.

“This impression is made all the more obvious by the fact that Cllr Hiller signed the decision notice to award the contract and implement the scheme before the main public consultation drop in event had been held.

“So there is no possibility that views expressed by the public at this event have been taken into account in making the decision.”

The call-in adds: “There is no evidence of what other options were considered or any detail of their costings.”

A petition to “save Rhubarb Bridge” has now been signed by more than 4,600 people.

The £5.5 million funding for the Junction 18 works at the A47/A15 roundabout was passed as part of the Conservative-run council’s budget proposals in March.

The call-in will be heard by a council scrutiny committee on Tuesday, August 29 at 7pm. It calls for Cllr Hiller to reconsider his decision following feedback from the public and councillors.

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