Campaigners resurrect plans to build footbridge over River Thames between Wargrave and Shiplake

Campaigners are hopeful they can get the go-ahead for a bridge over the River Thames between Wargrave and Shiplake.

In May, Wargrave resident Olivia Coppin set up the Wargrave-Shiplake Bridge Campaign Group, which aims to canvas opinion and campaigns to build a footbridge in a bid to connect the two communities and provide the village with footpath access to the Thames Path.

Plans to construct a bridge between the villages were previously granted planning permission in 1997 by South Oxfordshire District Council, but the bridge was never built.

The community-wide project to resurrect the idea has a working group consisting of nine people of various specialisms including a lawyer, and individuals with experience in project work and risk management.

A feasibility study is currently being worked on, looking at potential sites for the bridge, and options for a potential interim ferry are also being examined.

An online survey canvassing the opinion of local residents about a potential bridge, saw more than 1,000 people respond with 94 per cent in favour of a footbridge and 72 per cent supporting a possible interim ferry crossing.

Olivia, who lives in the High Street in Wargrave, said: “If I want to go to Shiplake I have to drive [around] 20 minutes and a walk on a bridge would take like two minutes to be on the other side of the river.”

Team member Liz Deacon, said: “This would benefit both communities with direct acccess across the river, and also local businesses on both sides.”

Wargrave parish councillor Graham Howe, said: “I and my fellow Wokingham Borough councillor for Wargrave, Remenham and Ruscombe are very happy to support the group that has come together to resurrect the idea of a bridge over the River Thames at Wargrave.

“The idea was put forward and approved some 20 years ago but failed to move forward for a variety of reasons.

“The bridge will enable residents of Wargrave and surrounds to walk the public Thames Path from the other side at Shiplake all the way to Henley.

“And of course walkers and others will have the benefit of crossing to the Berkshire side to enjoy the countryside.

“Economically it will be to the advantage of both sides of the Thames.”

For more information visit the Wargrave-Shiplake Bridge Campaign Group on Facebook or email the team at wsbcc2020@gmail.com

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