We are sorry that we have not been able to start the construction of the replacement footbridge which provides a permissive path across the brook to the Millennium woods. We completely understand the frustrations of local residents that this has taken so long. Below we provide some explanation and the latest status of the project.
In January 2023, the Parish Council paid a deposit to a bridge contractor to construct the new bridge. As part of our agreement with the contractor, they were to apply for an Environment Agency (EA) permit for this work, because they had considerable experience of such applications.
The contractor submitted the application to the EA in March. We were then advised to wait for the EA and that this would take approximately 8-10 weeks.
The Parish Office team regularly followed up on the application with the bridge contractor who assured us that there was no unusual delay and that we should let the EA do their work. However, in June we were informed by the bridge contractor that they had actually missed an important email from the Environment Agency in March and had only just found the email. The contractor was apologetic but by this stage the Council did not feel able to work with them any longer. We terminated the agreement and the deposit was refunded promptly.
We were effectively then back at the start of the process because the email from the EA which had been mishandled by the contractor in March had explained that a more in-depth, bespoke application was required for the project, due to the presence of protected habitats and species near the bridge site.
Our Estate Manager has since worked hard on a bespoke application which was submitted to the EA in early August. She has also found a local contractor who can replace the bridge for us once we have the necessary permit.
This has been a frustrating project for the Council and we are determined to have a bridge in place as soon as we are able. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Clerk, Cholsey Parish Council