A LEADING city councillor has accused council chiefs of failing to consult residents over proposals to create a new footbridge over the River Severn.
Cabinet member Coun Liz Smith said she was “surprised” when plans emerged to build a pedestrian bridge from Gheluvelt Park to the Kepax Country Park.
The £2million scheme has been tabled as part of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan, which has been submitted to central Government.
But Coun Smith, councillor for Claines, said she did not feel enough had been done to contact residents as she said there was interest for a bridge further north of the city.
“I don’t think there has been any engagement,” she said. “Ever since we had the first footbridge there has been a basic desire to put another in.
“Various sites have been suggested including Gheluvelt Park and at the top of Pitchcroft, but nothing specific had been said to suggest it was going to be created at the park.
“I am not against it, but I was surprised to see it there when nobody had mentioned it and nobody had discussed whether there were better places for it.”
Coun Smith said an alternative option would have been to build a footbridge from The Slip in Northwick, which was used as a crossing point, called Hallow Ford in the Middle Ages.
“A lot of people walk to The Slip, so I am sure a bridge there would be welcomed because the more links across the river the better,” she said.
“Of course they are expensive to build and you can’t be greedy, but this leg of footpath is used and there is a footpath on the other side of the river as well, so it is a shame it has not been considered for inclusion.”
However, Peter Pawsey, chair of Worcestershire LEP, insisted the city council still had the chance to consider different sites for the bridge.
“It is a concept rather than a hard and fast scheme,” he said. “If it gets to the next stage the debate of where the bridge starts and lands on either side of the river is still there for further debate and the city council will lead that discussion.”
Mr Pawsey also said consultation was a “massive part” of the process when putting together the plan as he said more than 150 businesses and organisations had been contacted.