AGREEMENTS for money to build a £9 million bridge in the city must be “absolutely watertight” to ensure housing developers do not try to “get out” of paying for it, a councillor has warned.

Worcestershire County Council’s backed plans to move forward with building a foot and cycle bridge between Gheluvelt Park and the old Kepax landfill site in Worcester but a warning was made by Councillor John Smith who said the county council must ensure housing developers stick to their word if it was going to rely on them to stump up more than £6.5 million to get it built.

Councillor Smith, cabinet member for health, said he was concerned the council would be relying heavily on developer contributions - known as section 106 agreements - to build the bridge and it was “very important” to ensure the agreements were “absolutely watertight” so the council would get the money.

He said: “If we make these section 106 agreements, we must, or the appropriate authority must, ensure that these agreements are tied down.

“Absolutely watertight.”

The estimated total cost at the moment would be almost £9 million which includes studies, design costs, the new bridge, a path through the Kepax site and wider improvements. The construction of the bridge would cost around £6 million alone.

Council bosses are confident it can secure funding from various housing developments that are planned to be built around the site of the proposed bridge.

Cllr Ken Pollock, cabinet member for infrastructure, said at a meeting at County Hall on Thursday (November 14), that it was “disappointing” to see some criticise the council for building a walking and cycling bridge when another bridge was desperately needed for cars.

He said: “It’s a bit like saying well if you can’t do A why are you bothering to do B. The two things are separate.

“It may well be that by building this bridge there will actually be people not taking their cars across the bridge and that will go some way to relieving congestion.

Cllr Alan Amos said the economics of the bridge were a “no brainer.”

He said: “Given the social, health, economic and transport benefits of this bridge, I can’t see why anybody would not support it.

“We will, in effect, be getting a £9 million bridge for a contribution from the county council of only £1.5 million which has already been allocated in our budget for walking and cycling.”