Removing footbridge for refurbishment could harm Saxilby economy councillor warns

Temporarily removing a canal footbridge could harm Saxilby’s economy, a councillor warned.
Urgent refurbishment to a Fossdyke footbridge in Saxilby is neededUrgent refurbishment to a Fossdyke footbridge in Saxilby is needed
Urgent refurbishment to a Fossdyke footbridge in Saxilby is needed

West Lindsey District Council has been forced to approve £250,000 for urgent refurbishment to a Fossdyke footbridge.

It was originally hoped this could be done for £100,000, although another £150,000 of funding has now been granted from the Capital Receipts Reserve.

The removal means that canal boats mooring on the Fossdyke along Bridge Street could have difficulty getting to local businesses.

Coun David Cotton (Liberal Democrat) warned the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee about the potential impact.

“If boats stop on the far side – which has the best facilities – they need to be able to get to the village and tourist economy,” he said.

“A few months ago there was some vandalism and notices were put up saying ‘Don’t moor at Saxilby.’

"The village lost a fish and chip shop and a butchers because of the drop in trade, and others are struggling.

“I sincerely hope the bridge isn’t taken away in the spring or summer, or we are going to lose in the economy of the village.

“I’m hoping these works could take place in the autumn instead, and the bridge would be back in place for spring 2024.”

He added that there shouldn’t be further delays, saying: “The longer it takes, the worse the bridge gets and the more it costs.”

Emma Foy, director of Corporate Services, said the council would work with the parish council and other stakeholders to aim for autumn.

The refurbishment should give the bridge an extra 20 years of life.

Councillors were told that the bridge would need to be removed by crane, as it was more expensive to carry out the work while it was still over water.

Coun Owen Bierley (Conservative) said: “The bridge’s value to Saxilby and the Bridge Street conservation area indisputable.

"It is clear that work off-site would do a better job and prove to be more cost effective.”

It is proposed that the refurbished footbridge is named after Bob Ballerini, who originally obtained it for the council, and passed away last year.