The much used Temple Footbridge was closed on Monday 15 May 2023. This week, there was a public meeting at the Oarsman pub where anyone with an interest in the reopening of the bridge was invited to attend.
The aim was to discuss what is known so far about the bridge closure, and what actions could be taken by the group and individuals to put pressure on the relevant authorities to quickly come up with a satisfactory solution to crossing the river.
Jocelyn Towns, of Marlow Town Council attended and explained in detail what she knew – the key points being:
- The bridge is the responsibility of the Environment Agency (EA), not any of the town and county councils on either side of the river.
- The EA’s prime concern is of course safety, and have had to close the bridge while specialists assess the options -repair, replace etc.
- The EA have committed to publish a response in mid August.
Steve Rider, the BBC Sports Presenter, also attended and made the point that the bridge when opened was heralded as “the last link in the Thames Path” and now that link is broken. There is a diversion in place, but it was also noted at the meeting it could be considered dangerous – heading through Temple on roads with no footpath, and through Bisham towards Marlow Bridge where cars speed along next to a very narrow pavement.
Robin Atkinson, a civil and structural engineer also attended and shared his insight and expertise. Robin played a part in Marlow Bridge reopening back when a large HGV drove over causing it to be closed for safety’s sake, so his professional skills will be useful in the group understanding any detailed structural reports made public.
Other points raised included a ferry crossing being put in place as an immediate short term solution, and another alternative routes being possible via Harleyford.
So, local residents will have to wait until mid August to hear what the EA has to say on the matter. The group agreed that in the meantime it would really help to show the strength of local feeling for the bridge, and stress the need for quick action, whether short term, or longer term solutions. To this end there are 3 suggested avenues:
- Join the newly created Facebook group for more updates, and to share thoughts/ideas https://www.facebook.com/groups/957252592189335
- Send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org – to reinforce the importance of re-establishing a river crossing ASAP, noting the break in the Thames Path, and the danger of the current alternative.
- Sign the petition (currently being setup, and will be shared in due course)
We will keep you updated of developments here on MyMarlow.co.uk of course.