Is it all over for £6 million bridge?

Plans for a footbridge acroos the RIver Trent in Gainsborough.
Plans for a footbridge acroos the RIver Trent in Gainsborough.

AMBITIOUS plans for a futuristic £6 million footbridge over the River Trent in Gainsborough may be scrapped due to a lack of funding.

The contemporary design, reminiscent of Wembley Stadium’s iconic suspension cables, split opinions when it was revealed last year.

Architect Oliver Houchell designed the S-shaped curved deck bridge, which was intended to be placed opposite the Old Guildhall and land on the Beckingham side near Trent Port.

The bridge was to be a key feature of regeneration plans for Gainsborough, after a feasibility study was commisioned by the Gainsborough Stakeholder Network (GSN) through Gainsborough Development Trust using a grant secured from West Lindsey District Council.

The council granted the group £12,000 from Growth Point Funding for the study, which was provided as part of its successful bid for Growth Point Status.

But months later, GSN disbanded, and although member Charles Cooke held a meeting in February in which he presented the plans to the public and suggested that interest had been voiced by private investors, now funding looks to be in doubt with no one to spearhead the project.

“The last thing I planned to do was to present the design to people, and personally, I’m not planning to do anything else with it,” said former GSN member Charles Cooke.

“That was the hangover from the work I did with the GSN, but now it’s up to the district council to sort out the financing of it - it’s in their hands whether they pursue it or not.”

Charles added: “I thought that there was enough interest from developers in town to contribute to it. Getting it to the design stage was an achievement in itself, but now it’s up to others to see where it goes from here.”

However, West Lindsey District Council said that they would fund the bridge no further and were not actively pursuing private investment.

A WLDC spokesman said: “The idea of a footbridge over the River Trent was put forward by a community group in the early 2000s.”

He continued: “More than 200 local people were still in favour of a footbridge, which is why it was put into this plan. The GSN, which represented the community, approached the authority for funding in 2009 to help pay for a feasibility study for the bridge.”

WLDC leader Coun Burt Keimach said: “West Lindsey District Council has never said it would fund any part of the footbridge beyond the feasibility study, which was paid for through Growth Point status money not District Council money.”

“In the meantime there are very few public organisations that can fund a £6 million project at this time. In light of this we are not actively searching for funding.”

Coun Keimach added: “However, if somebody from the business sector wishes to progress further with this information, the council would not treat this different to any other development.”