‘Re-think’ on Finchingfield Bridge to be revealed

Finchingfield Protest

Finchingfield Protest - Credit: Archant

A ‘rethink’ on Finchingfield Bridge has been announced by Essex County Council.

Revised plans for the re-building of the crossing are to be revealed in an exhibition in the village hall next week on Wednesday, February 17.

The news,relayed on the council’s website, follows a demonstration by Finchingfield residents last Monday (February 1) when villagers of all ages stood three deep across the bridge. Their banners celebrated nearly 3,000 signatures on a petition to stop the work.

As a result of that petition, a member of the Finchingfield Bridge Preservation Society, postmistress Alex Robinson, is due to address the council’s Cabinet at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, February 9) and call for the scheme to be halted for consultation.

She will say the council’s plans to widen the bridge will destroy the historic vista of one of the most visited villages in Britain – and allow heavy lorries to race through the ancient centre.

A statement on Essex County Council’s website says in view of the petition and after a public meeting in Finchingfield on November 17 the council has been “reviewing options that will enable the crossing to remain safe and usable into the future, while respecting the unique features of the bridge, its essential use and its attractive environment.”

At the meeting – which will be three months ago to the day when the new plans are revealed – hundreds of residents attended a packed St John the Baptist Church in the village and speaker after speaker protested about the plans. They called for a temporary bridge while the work was being carried out to prevent a 15-mile detour around country lanes, which they say is dangerous.

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After 90 minutes of being barracked, Councillor Eddie Johnson, responsible for highways, said he would go away and look again at the budget. Quoted on the website announcing the exhibition, Councillor Johnson said: “Since we met the community of Finchingfield, we have been looking at the options available to us, consulting with specialist engineers and considering local concerns and the recent petition, as part of our investigations.

“I am pleased to say that during February we will be sharing these plans with the community, including at a local public drop-in exhibition and publication on Essex County Council’s website.”

The exhibition will be at Finchingfield Village Hall on Wednesday, November 17 from 2pm to 7.15pm.