BIKE Worcester have slammed plans for a new bridge in Worcester claiming the £9 million it would cost should be invested in cycling infrastructure throughout the city instead.

Worcestershire County Council are proposing a scheme to build a new walking and cycling bridge across the River Severn in Worcester. The proposed bridge will run from Gheluvelt Park to the east of the river to the Kepax site in St John’s, to the west.

Danny Brothwell chair of Bike Worcester said the money would be better spent elsewhere.

He said: "The proposed Kepax Bridge is a substantial investment. From my perspective I’d like to see money spent on active travel infrastructure being targeted at areas where it will have the biggest impact on replacing journeys currently made by car with modes of active travel.

"The aim should be creating a continuous network in the city linking housing, schools, employment areas, shopping and leisure facilities.

"I’d be interested to see if any modelling has been done to determine the impact on reducing car journeys to measure the benefit of the Kepax scheme and to know whether this is best value for money for the city.

"I’d suspect investing the money on segregated cycle routes elsewhere would have a greater positive impact, for the cities health, happiness and the environment.

"My understanding is that the current county council cabinet have a policy where no road space will be given over cycling, so it makes creating a city wide network more difficult, without a political change of mindset to something more forward thinking and ambitious."

County councillor Matthew Jenkins added: "I will be attending the cabinet meeting on Thursday where the Kepax bridge is on the agenda, and I will be raising my concerns.

I want to ensure that in backing this bridge, the council will not use it as an excuse to not provide proper investment in safe cycle infrastructure in Worcester."

The County Council’s Cabinet is meeting this Thursday to discuss the progression of both the Kepax Bridge scheme in Worcester and the Hampton Bridge scheme in Evesham.

Cabinet is being asked to authorise expenditure on both schemes once planning permission is granted.

Planning permission for the Kepax Bridge scheme is due to be determined later this year.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said “These bridges would be two big steps forward in our commitment to improve our walking and cycling infrastructure across the county.

“I’m hopeful that my colleagues will endorse the request at Cabinet to move both bridges forward, albeit they are in different stages of development.

“In the last 12 months, we have already delivered a number of schemes to improve walking and cycling routes including a number of improvements in and around Bromsgrove, the opening of Crookbarrow Way and Hams Way footbridges in Worcester as part of the Southern Link Road scheme and more recently, the full refurbishment of Sabrina Bridge in the centre of Worcester.”