Villagers outraged that key Chrishall footbridge near B1039 still in need of repair two years after closure

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:30 10 November 2017

Angry residents on the closed footpath leading to the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny Loo

Angry residents on the closed footpath leading to the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Villagers in Chrishall are outraged that a key footbridge in the village still hasn’t been reopened more than two years after it closed for repairs despite “pedestrians being put in danger”.

The location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny LooThe location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny Loo

Keen rambler Charles Joint lives 100 metres from the Chiswick Hall footbridge, which was removed in January 2016.

What’s left is a ditch villagers are unable to walk across and the ajoining footpath – which leads to Great Chishill – overgrown.

Mr Joint told the Crow: “This is a key bridge on a wonderful footpath circuit used by many. It’s a disgrace that it has not been repaired.

“I am sure if it had been on private land the council would have long since issued an enforcement notice. Three years to design a footpath bridge is ridiculous!”

The location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny LooThe location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny Loo

The footbridge is along a windy stretch of the B1039 and is east of the turning for Bury Lane, meaning walkers are now having to divert onto the busy road.

Mr Joint, who has lived in Chrishall for two decades and was in the army for 32 years, said: “Chrishall is a brilliant village, it’s a close-knit community which cares about local issues.

“And because of this we are forced to walk in the road where it’s a blind spot – it’s a nightmare.

“If you have a group of 20 ramblers having to go in the road because there isn’t a footpath, there is a very real danger people will get hurt.

The location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny LooThe location of the closed footbridge on the B1039 outside Chrishall which is forcing walkers onto the busy road. Picture: Danny Loo

“It’s scandalous that it takes years to work on a small footbridge, which is on a major rambling path – it’s health and safety gone mad.

Mr Joint said he was advised that the bridge would be replaced in April 2017 but, despite numerous emails and formal complaints lodged, it has been pushed back again.

A spokeswoman for Chrishall Parish Council said: “The parish council has repeatedly pointed out the dangerous situation for walkers that this closure creates. Essex County Council has failed to rectify the situation in a timely manner, and has put pedestrians at risk in the process.”

Nigel Bond, who had regularly used the footpath to get to Chrishall and is chairman of neighbouring Elmdon & Wenden Lofts Parish Council, said: “We are very disappointed in the county council’s correspondence. As well as ramblers, children working on their Duke of Edinburgh award use this road regularly, but still nothing is being done.”

An Essex County Council Highways spokesman said: “The footbridge was removed for safety reasons as it was in very poor condition.

“Design work is under way for a lightweight replacement bridge to reduce load on the adjacent retaining wall.

“It is hoped that construction will start during the 2018/19 financial year.”

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