A cash shortage has delayed a £772,500 bid to rebuild a well-known bridge at Exeter Quay.
The wooden Mallison Bridge, originally built in 1984 and named after a professor who left his money to the city, closed in 2018 because of safety concerns after its timbers rotted. It was consequently torn down last year.
A small alleyway next to Commercial Road is currently the only way for pedestrians and cyclists to access the main part of the quay from the popular Cricklepit Suspension Bridge.
Planning permission for a replacement pedestrian and cycle bridge was given in December 2018, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.
Exeter City Council announced last year that ‘a new structure will be built as soon as adequate funding has been identified’.
But now members of the authority’s executive have decided to put the project on hold ‘while further contributions are sought from partners’.
St David’s representative Councillor Diana Moore criticised the decision and said: “Mallison Bridge has played an important role in the infrastructure of the quay.
“The one route off Cricklepit bridge has placed great pressure on the narrow alleyway causing conflict between pedestrians, cyclist, mobility scooters, etc and the access to the restaurant over the summer.
“It has not helped with managing antisocial behaviour in the area. In light of the Liveable Exeter and Exeter City Living developments that will be coming forward in the area, we really need to invest in maintaining this infrastructure as a priority.”
City council leader Phil Bialyk responded: “My issue about this is we’ve got a financial decision to make and we decided, at this moment in time, not to spend £500,000 contributing towards the remainder of that bridge.
“We will discuss it again at the next Canal and Quay Trust meeting.
“I’m a user of it – I think it looks alright. It was never there before, but let’s talk about it.
“We’ve got decisions to make in this council. We’ve got some big decisions to make and what we repair, we’ve got to have an order and we’ve only put it back, it’s not saying we’re not going to do it.
“We’ll do exactly what we just said – we’re going to talk to the Canal and Quay Trust and talk to the police, safety people about the consequences of it all down there and I think that is the appropriate way at the moment.”