Footbridge replacement on agenda for river users group

The controversial removal of the footbridge over Sallowrow Drain in North Carr near Waddingham, as reported last year, has led to differences of opinion between Waddingham Parish Council and the Environment Agency as to who is responsible and how anything can be done to rectify the situation.

The issue was on the agenda of the Ancholme User Group’s latest meeting.

It has become more clear as to what had happened, with the group now looking at a possible replacement.

Matt Latham of the Environment Agency, present at the meeting, said the bridge, which is privately owned and is not a public footpath, was first reported as being in a poor condition on its inspection in 2011.

The Agency’s Enforcement Officer contacted the landowners on either side of the drain and advised them of the condition of the bridge, which was then removed, but not by the agency nor the adjacent landowners.

Coun Godfrey Thacker of Waddingham Parish Council told the meeting: “The parish council had a fund specifically for the repair of bridges in North Carr, but failure to talk and communicate meant we did not know it required maintenance.”

Matt Latham of the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency do not have any evidence to suggest it owns the drain. We can’t provide the funds and are not in a position to reinstate the bridge. However the bridge can be reinstated by the landowners.

He also said talks would continue with the council and other interested parties to look at costing implications to replace the footbridge.