New Widewater Lagoon footbridge could mean disabled access

Footbridge at Widewater, Lancing
Footbridge at Widewater, Lancing

The first step towards the reconstruction of Widewater Lagoon’s footbridge will take place in March.

The bridge will be closed for a week while ground investigations are carried out for the design, the county council has announced.

The steps leading to the footbridge

The steps leading to the footbridge

Residents hope this not only means that ‘much needed’ replacement work will definitely go ahead, but that it could signal success for a long running campaign to create disabled access to the bridge.

Brighton Road is currently linked to the footbridge by a set of broad steps which cannot accommodate wheelchairs or disabled buggies.

Widewater ward councillor Geoff Patmore said it was ‘fabulous news’ that the design work is planned and said he would be ‘over the moon’ if disabled access were also to be provided.

“It would be of major benefit for a large population of Widewater,” he said.

It’s virtually impossible for disabled people to access the lagoon on a regular basis

Councillor Geoff Patmore

The six-year campaign had been stymied after residents were told the land was part of a flood defence and could not be lowered to create a ramp, said Mr Patmore.

But now the county council has committed to reviewing access to the bridge and exploring new ‘possibilities’.

Visiting the lagoon is difficult for residents who cannot get to the footbridge, Mr Patmore said, as it means they have to travel all the way around the lagoon.

He said: “It’s virtually impossible for disabled people to access the lagoon on a regular basis.”

He believes a ramp would allow more people to ‘enjoy this piece of natural beauty in Lancing’.

“I just hope they go ahead with it,” he said.

A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “The existing timber footbridge has been approved for replacement as it is approaching the end its life.

“It will be closed for a week from Monday, March 20, to carry out ground investigations for the design which will include reviewing the existing access arrangements, including the northern steps and investigating the possibilities alongside the constraints of the site.

“We will then progress the design before it is scheduled in for construction. We would like to thank residents for their understanding during the closure.”

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