Views being sought over plans to build bridge across River Avon in Saltford

A consultation has been launched for local residents to have their say on plans to build a new bridge across the River Avon to access the Saltford Water Recycling Centre.

Letters have been sent out by Wessex Water to explain the scheme and ask for comments, while the company has also consulted with both B&NES and South Gloucestershire councils.

Existing access to the Mead Lane site, which is due to be upgraded in the future, is difficult due to parked cars and flooding when river levels are high.

A low bridge along the narrow route also affects access for some vehicles.

Wessex Water plans to build a bridge that will provide a connection to the A431, which runs through Swineford and Bitton, and will improve the approach to the water recycling centre.

The scheme also proposes creating a footpath linking the A431 to the local public right of way network and the River Avon Trail. This means people living on either side of the river would have access by foot across it.

Wessex Water is also looking at including biodiversity and environmental improvements, such as tree planting adjacent to both ends of the bridge.

The company also proposes creating wetland habitats and working with local wildlife groups and others to identify other measures, such as supporting bat and bird species.

Alternative routes to the bridge have been explored, including a new 1.6 km road to connect to the A4, but this would have a significant impact on the Avon Valley landscape, result in much greater loss of greenbelt land and have a high impact on local ecology.

The existing access road will remain open to ensure the site can be reached from either side should there be the need, but there will be no through route for the public.

Wessex Water will be submitting its planning application for the bridge in the coming weeks but has asked for feedback on the proposals.

Kelvin Brick, who is coordinating the project, said: “Saltford houses our regional scientific centre, analysing thousands of water supply and waste water samples a day from across our region.

“It is a key site that treats sewage to a high standard and safely returns it to the environment.

“Improving access to the water recycling centre is a key part of our plan and we have been exploring options over the last 18 months.

“We believe this bridge is the most viable route, minimising impact on the community and environment.”

Anyone with comments can email them to [email protected]

Bath Echo