A PLAN to put forward £225,000 to keep work moving on a city footbridge has been proposed by the leader of the city council.

Councillor Marc Bayliss proposed handing out an “additional contribution” of £225,000 in unallocated money from the council’s City Plan fund to ensure work on a new multi-million pound bridge between Gheluvelt Park and the old Kepax landfill site continues.

The proposal came after Worcestershire County Council announced in its draft budget for the next year that it would be allocating some of a £4 million fund to help pay for the bridge.

At a meeting of the council’s place and economic development committee on Monday (January 28), Cllr Bayliss said the council had secured around 70 per cent of the money needed to build the bridge.

He said: “It probably won’t get us all the way there but it is another ‘down payment’ towards this activity and reflects the good things we have seen from the county council and I am hoping we can lever more monies from other sources. It’s a one-off so it won’t have an ongoing effect on the budget.”

Cllr Adrian Gregson, deputy leader of the council, said allocating the money was putting the cart before the horse.

He said: “It is premature to commit these kinds of funds before we know the outcomes of the studies. It just feels cart before horse when doing this.”

Cllr Bayliss disagreed and said the council had already moved past the first stage and had been compiling detailed studies and plans.

He said: “I think we’ve already made a commitment to build the bridge. I think we have spent a lot of money figuring out whether it is possible and where it is possible. My feeling is that it is not at the feasibility stage now.”

Cllr Louis Stephen said he supported the bridge in principle but wanted to look at other options for where the money could be spent before committing it all to the plan.

The city council is currently working on studies for the Gheluvelt Park bridge plan which is due to be discussed by councillors in the next few months.

It announced in July it planned to build the multi-million pound footbridge across the River Severn but further survey work would be required before full plans were developed.

The council said it would be a design very similar to the Diglis Bridge that opened in 2010.

It was decided by the council’s policy and resources committee that the money to pay for a range of surveys would be drawn from a £150,000 lump earmarked from the city council’s City Plan pot in February 2017.

A further £500,000 from the same City Plan funds was sanctioned in March to partly pay for the bridge and act as a signal by the authority of its intention to build it.

More funding would be required from elsewhere to cover the estimated total cost of £4.2 million.

The committee was split over whether to put forward the proposal with Cllr Bayliss and his fellow two Conservatives voting for it, both Labour councillors abstaining and the committee’s lone Green Cllr Stephen voting against it.

The proposal will be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee at a meeting next Tuesday (February 5) before a decision is made at a full city council meeting on Tuesday, February 19.