CYCLISTS and pedestrians could get a new bridge over the River Dee – as long as a compromise is reached on the design.
Community group Friends of the Meadows are in talks with Chester City Council about the new development as they are concerned about the potential effects.
John Makinson, chair of Friends of the Meadows, said: “The Meadows is the largest semi wild area in Chester, offering peace, quiet and tranquility for Chester citizens.
“Our main concerns are that the bridge itself, which is still under discussion, is a major structure and will have to be pretty high to accommodate the slow boats.
“Also, problems could arise because the route to the bridge would cut across the meadows and spoil enjoyment of the area. At our annual meeting 90% of us voted against it.”
Mike O’Kell, countryside officer for Chester City Council, is involved in planning the scheme.
He said: “The bridge connecting Huntington and Handbridge will provide a much-needed cycle path and walking route to give access to the meadows.
“Regarding concerns that the bridge will have a negative impact on the local landscape, the whole aim of the bridge is to encourage people to walk and cycle.
“It is still early days and we still need to carry out feasibility studies and finalise the design.
“I have met with Friends of the Meadows and we are working together to get the balance right.”
The project is being overseen by Sustrans’ Connect2, who successfully bid for a £50million lottery grant.
The company creates cycling and walking routes to improve local travel in communities across the country.
Peter Foster, Sustrans North West Regional Manager, said: “We are delighted with the success of Connect2 and thank local people, and the partner local authorities in Chester for their support.
“The next stage is to meet with the councils in early February to discuss the Chester scheme, including the proposed bridge over the River Dee and the completion of the Chester-Connah's Quay Greenway, in more detail.”
The lottery grant has provided £1.25m and a further £5m is being sought from a range of sources including the Regional Development Agency.