New bridge will encourage walkers to use footpath in Sawbridge once again

Walkers will soon be able to use a footpath in Sawbridge once again following a decision to rebuild a bridge at a cost of £25,000 with a further £45,000 to be spent on drainage improvements along a nearby public bridleway.

A view from Flecknoe towards Sawbridge. 
Photography by Mike Tobin.
A view from Flecknoe towards Sawbridge. Photography by Mike Tobin.

Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for property and finance, Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston) signed off the work to allow both routes around the village south of Dunchurch to be re-opened.

A council report explained that there had been a number of complaints from members of the public, adding that it was the council’s duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain its public rights of way.

It added: “The replacement bridge and the surfacing are required to allow these two routes to be re-opened to the public. Complaints and queries have been received regularly from users of the routes, the Local Access Forum and from the parish council about the closures and the length of time for replacement and repair.

“The bridge [on R260] has been the subject of a temporary closure notice for over three years because it is too dangerous for pedestrians to use.

“The size of the bridge is such that it cannot be replaced using the normal rights of way wooden bridge kits and therefore capital funding is required. The bridge dimensions mean that installation is not suitable to be done by volunteers, which is normal practice. A specialist contractor will be employed to carry out the work.

“The bridleway [SS61] runs downhill along a sunken track. Water runs off the neighbouring fields and then straight down the bridleway washing away the surface making it difficult to use. At some point in the past a scheme was put in place to assist in draining the water away but this has not been satisfactory. A more substantial system is required for the long term.

“The proposal is to use a surface water chamber to store the water coming off the field ditches and slowly release this into a substantial drainage system buried at a greater depth under the surface of the bridleway. This will discharge the water at the bottom of the hill into an existing ditch which discharges into the highway drainage system.”

Funding for the projects will come from a £171,000 windfall payment received by the county coucil from New Roads and Street Works Act fines.