Council asked to re-think on bridge

By Connie Osborne Thursday 20 March 2014 Updated: 21/03 08:31

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COUNCILLORS could be called on to overrule a decision not to taken action over a Redditch bridge where people have taken their own lives.

Coun Robin Lunn, who represents Redditch North, said he would put forward a motion to the next full meeting of Worcestershire County Council calling for immediate action at the Bromsgrove Highway bridge if discussions with those responsible for the site were not successful.

A total of 41 incidents have taken place at the bridge since 2006, including six deaths.

But Worcestershire’s Health and Well-being board ruled out the use of catch netting or safety fencing and instead decided only to monitor the site for 12 months.

Coun Lunn said he had requested a formal meeting with deputy council leader Simon Geraghty, Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and well-being and Coun John Smith, responsible for highways.

“I want to know if there is a principle the county council has regarding taking action at the bridge rather than a cost issue. If that is the case I think it is the wrong principle and we need to come up with a solution,” he said.

“If I don’t feel like we make any progress it will be debated at full council and I will ask for a motion. Ideally, we don’t want it to have to come to that because it is a sensitive issue and I am sure there is a sensible solution.”

Part of the concern about installing safety measures revolves around setting a precedent for other bridges across the county which could result in significant costs for the council.

But at a Highways and Transportation Forum meeting at Redditch Town Hall on Monday (March 17) councillors were informed the families of some of those who have lost their lives at the bridge site had offered to fund-raise to pay for caging.

Coun Rebecca Blake, responsible for community safety on Redditch Borough Council, said: “We have been told we have to wait for 12 months so the Health and Well-being board can see evidence of the threats there. It is only a matter or time until there is another fatality.

“If Redditch Borough Council had an issue with people jumping or falling off the Town Hall we would not want to, or get away with, channelling that to a partner board.”

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