• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Wallingford Bridge steps are ‘safety hazard’ say residents

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 27, 2022

STEPS connecting a medieval bridge to the bank of River Thames in Wallingford are a “long-standing safety concern”, say tourists and residents.

Wallingford Bridge, which connects the town to Crowmarsh Gifford, has two sets of stone steps leading to the side of the river which people have dubbed as “very dangerous”.

The main issues that have been reported are the steps being too step, being covered in holes and having a handrail which ends before the steps do.

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Gillian Mead, 67, from Wiltshire, has been visiting the town annually since her early childhood but said the steps are now “challenging” for her.

“We visit annually to meet with friends and family,” she said. “It’s something we’ve always done and I visit with my grandchildren but I’m not a young woman anymore and the steps are challenging for me.

“The handrail is broken and there is a rough piece of metal over a hole in the steps that has been there a very long time.

“With such a beautiful bridge at Wallingford why has this not been addressed? There’s no excuse for it.

“They are very steep and they could be adapted and adjusted for disabled people. The council need to do more and it’s a shame they haven’t made any effort.

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“I think the townspeople of Wallingford deserve better. They deserve to look at the bridge and be able to hold their head high.”

Resident Carleen Acres, who is in her 60s, said she finds using the steps “dangerous”.

“They have been in a dangerous state for many years,” she said. “The orange cover covering a hole has been there years and started moving. I find using the Steps dangerous and handrail needs replacing.”

Resident Jon Webb added: “For some years there has been a temporary cover over a landing area near the top and the steps themselves are moving away from the bridge.

“As Wallingford bridge is a scheduled monument, one would assume repairs might well take longer than otherwise, but both issues have been ongoing for years now.”

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, said: “The steps to the bridge on the eastern side of the river are Oxfordshire County Council’s responsibility.

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“The steps on the western side of the river are outside of the highway and are presumed to be privately owned.

“The problems with the stairs which the county council is responsible for are being addressed as quickly as possible, but unfortunately there is a significant backlog of bridgeworks which needed to be given priority.

“In this instance, a temporary footway plate appeared to have addressed the immediate safety concern.

“Work to address the problems with the stairs on the eastern side of the river are due to commence within the next few months.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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