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March footbridge gets reprieve from closure

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Councillors have agreed to defer closing a well-used March footbridge.

The bridge, which links High Street to the town’s library, is in need of repair as its timbers and metal supports are showing signs of wear.

Fenland District Council has been told the work will cost £140,192.14 to complete, which would be divided with a nearby landowner, who could not cover more than £25,000.

The council’s cabinet was facing the options of either closing the bridge or increasing its contribution to the works to £72,900 with the hopes of finding an additional £42,292 from elsewhere.

During Thursday’s meeting, cabinet members agreed to defer the decision to close the bridge to hold talks with other organisations.

Leader of March Town Council Kit Owen is pleased the bridge will remain open for now but is calling on the district council to lower its specifications for the work in order to get lower quotes.

He said: “I am delighted that they have deferred the decision. A check was made on Wednesday last week and more than 300 people were seen to cross it in three hours.

“In my view, and I’m not a qualified engineer or architect, they have set the bar for the work far too high.”

Mr Owen also said that the town council was expecting to receive a request for help in bridging the funding gap.

He said: “If we get a request, March Town Council will look at it but, in my view, we have not got that sort of money as we are committed elsewhere in the town for this coming year.

“You can only spread the jam so far.”

The bridge, which leads to West End Park, was built in 1978 by the district council.

The original conveyance documents are reported to place maintaining the bridge with the district council.

Modifications which filled the gap between the original bridge and a shop were added in the 1980s by a trader.

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