Please urgently repair red bridge

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Redbridge, that spans the River Otter, links the villages of Harpford, Newton Poppleford and Tipton St John and is a vital part of the East Devon Way.

It’s a hugely popular route and is essential for a thriving East Devon tourist economy, which is currently very much under pressure due to Covid-19.

It is also used by Harpford school children as a traffic free route to school, the only alternative being to walk along the busy A3052 and to contend with more than 16,000 traffic movements a day. 

If the bridge isn’t repaired urgently (by the end of September), Devon County Council officers have confirmed that it must  close for safety reasons.

As well as being a vital walking route for tourists, and schoolchildren, the bridge is used by residents of Newton Poppleford, Southerton and Venn Ottery walking to and from Harpford Woods and is a very popular circular walk of the East Devon Way along the river bank from Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John.

In 2004 the land around the base of the eastern end of the bridge eroded and Devon County Council carried out remedial work which have lasted well.

Unfortunately, the land around the support at the western end of the bridge is now severely undermined and needs urgent repair or the bridge will have to shut.

A meeting organised by Devon County Councillor, Claire Wright on 22 June, was held at the bridge with Devon County Council engineering and public rights of way officers.EDDC ward member, Cllr Val Ranger attended, as did local P3 footpaths warden, Ted Swan.

The officers agreed that the bridge needs urgent repairs and that there is funding for this work. It will however, require other work to be reprioritised in order for the repairs to be scheduled before the end of September.

This petition is to demonstrate to Devon County Council officers that there is significant local support for the bridge to be repaired and therefore retained – and to demonstrate how very much needed it is.

The alternative is that this route will be closed (probably later this year), and this safe walking route for residents and especially school children walking from Harpford to Newton Poppleford will be lost. As will a beautiful part of the East Devon Way with a potential hit to East Devon’s tourism, at the worst possible time.

Please show Devon County Council your support for keeping this vital route open by signing below

Thank you

Cllrs Val Ranger and Claire Wright