£1m foot and cycle bridge plans scrapped

Plans for a £1m foot and cycle bridge over the River Nene at Wisbech have been scrapped because the money is needed elsewhere, it has been revealed.

Plans for a £1m foot and cycle bridge over the River Nene at Wisbech have been scrapped because the money is needed elsewhere, it has been revealed.

The bridge would have linked Old Market and the Nene Quay area of town and formed part of the £47m Nene Waterfront Regeneration scheme.

But council officials admitted this week that plans for the bridge had been deferred because of the higher-than-expected costs of remediating the former gas works and other sites which form part of the waterside scheme.

Gary Garford, director of business and infrastructure at Fenland District Council said the money had been redirected to cover the increased remediation costs.

"We carried out additional site investigations and potential costs have increased. We are providing sites ready for developers, remediating the land to a developable level, otherwise they could not be developed in the private sector because of the costs involved," he said.

Mr Garford said £10.2m of the overall regeneration project was available for public element works and it boiled down eventually to choices.

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He said the specification for the Boathouse complex had been increased and this formed a critical part of the scheme that would bring 160 jobs to the town.

The planned scheme will transform 20 acres of derelict land and will create a key site for residential and leisure use.

Hundreds of new homes will be built along with shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. It is expected to bring around 900 new people to the area. "We had to weigh risks and costs against the benefits, and that included the benefit of delivering the Boathouse and the need to remediate the sites," he said.

Mr Garford said tenders for extensive remediation were going out this week and the work should start in January.

He said the council had looked at pedestrian movements and improvements would be made to ensure people could travel safely into and out of the area.

Phase one of the pedestrianisation was on target and it was "exciting times, with the Boathouse steelworks starting next week and set for completion by July 2008".

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