‘Sinking’ footbridge is in ‘desperate’ need of work

An Alsager footbridge, which is “sinking” and requires repair, could become the financial responsibility of the town council if Cheshire East continues to delay the project due to a lack of funding.
At a Play Area and Open Spaces Working Group meeting in November the group requested that Ansa carried out repairs or replace the footbridge on the public right of way to the north of Wood Park.
Of the footbridge, the group stated: “It’s sinking into the boggy ground and could potentially become a hazard. They’ve been promising to do something about it for some time but no action has been forthcoming.”
A response from Cheshire East Council’s Public Rights of Way department was circulated at last Tuesday’s meeting of Alsager Town Council’s Planning, Environment and Community Committee.
The department stated: “Cheshire East Council is aware of the nature of this low-lying footpath which becomes very wet and muddy every winter. The council has identified this route for further improvement as and when we can obtain funding.
“At the end of summer, the farmer agreed access and quotations were obtained for a new footbridge, and some surfacing to and from each side.
“The project is part of a list of many paths requiring improvement as part of the Rights of Way Improvement plan for paths across the whole borough.”
Coun Derek Hough suggested the town council contacted Cheshire East to ask how much the project would cost and if it had a timeframe of how long it would take before the authority had the money required to carry out the work.
Couns Pauline Hubbard and Ron Tyson supported Coun Hough’s proposal.
Coun Michael Unett said: “Has anything been undertaken to make sure that the bridge is sound because I know that the bridge has sunk quite a considerable amount. Eventually the Valley Brook will go around that bridge and it will be completely hazardous.
“I think something desperately needs to be done.”
Coun Phil Williams said he understood Coun Hough’s views that if the town council paid it could set a precedent, but added that the town council needed to have the views “that this is our town and these are our amenities”.
“I would rather spend a bit of money now and get it done than in three years time when it is really expensive, unless we can find some source of sponsorship or group to give money towards it but those things take time,”Coun W-illiams told the meeting
Coun June Buckley said: “We are in a position at the moment that until the weather dries up once you get the other side you are going to be halfway up to your knees in mud. That side is in Odd Rode’s parish so even if we did get something on one side Cheshire East should do something on the other.”
Coun Williams suggested working jointly with Odd Rode to establish how much it would cost. He said if it cost a “few grand” to make the bridge sound then he felt it would be best “to get on with it”.
Coun Hubbard felt that the town council should contact Cheshire East and not “allow it to get away with things it is not doing so easily”.
She listed the bus shelters, road signs and the potholes on the Cedar Avenue joint use open space as areas the town council has had to take on due to a “lack of action” from the borough.
The town council decided to write to Cheshire East asking for a cost estimate of the project and a timescale when it would be completed. It also agreed to ask what the borough’s other priorities in Alsager were.