Fringe Box



Letter: If the Army Can Put A Bridge Over a River in a Day Could We Have a Bridge Over Tumbling Bay by Christmas?

Published on: 6 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 6 Aug, 2022

From: Margaret Bennett

See also: National Trust Refuses to Answer Questions on Tumbling Bay Weir Repair

Following on from the previous articles and correspondence relating to the Tumbling Bay Weir bridge, I would like to share a thought.

My father served with the Royal Engineers during World War 2 and spoke frequently of the brilliant, British-designed, Bailey Bridge that could be thrown across a river in a day, sometimes under enemy fire, without the use of skilled labour or heavy cranes, enabling tanks and troops to cross safely.

To overcome the grievous lack of progress so far, surely the rapid erection of a modest,
temporary footbridge over the weir, using modern derivatives of this design approach from
stable starting points, is not beyond the powers of modern democratic organisations.

Of course, we do not need to carry tanks across, just pedestrians, dogs and perhaps some eager cyclists.

If we allow say, a month to complete the environmental assessment study, the impact
assessment and the diversity training required for such a project – and then two whole days
to erect the bridge, we could all be crossing the weir well before Christmas.


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Responses to Letter: If the Army Can Put A Bridge Over a River in a Day Could We Have a Bridge Over Tumbling Bay by Christmas?

  1. John Harrison Reply

    August 6, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    A temporary repair to the footbridge is as simple and obvious as it is necessary. Everybody has been waiting patiently assuming the council has been forging ahead and rebuilding the weir is imminent and with it the footbridge.

    The public interest demands the break in the footpath is reinstated without delay. This needs be nothing more than a scaffolding structure, temporarily, which would be quick and cheap. That nobody from the council, or whoever is responsible, is demanding this be done and driving it forward is pathetic.

    Legal liability for the repair and long-term maintenance of the Weir may be something the powers that be feel they need to argue about but this must not hold up the reinstatement of the footpath, even if on a temporary basis.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    August 7, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    A temporary solution to the Tumbling Bay would be ideal, however, I can’t see a permanent solution any time soon. Why? Because, in Burpham, we face a similar, who does what and who pays for it situation.

    There is a spring-fed stream that flows behind a number of houses. It rises in Clandon Park and exits into the River Wey at Bowers Lock. The owners of houses that abut it have riparian responsibilities, which include ensuring that the watercourse is kept free of debris, the banks are maintained etc.

    In part of its course, Guildford Borough Council [GBC] has a similar responsibility. The Environment Agency has designated part of the stream as a main river and it too has certain statutory responsibilities. Likewise, as it passes through a culvert under an ‘A road The Surrey County Council [SCC] has certain legal obligations in respect of maintenance and flood prevention.

    All these agencies have representation on a Flood Forum, chaired by both the former and current MP. The stream and main river rise and fall very quickly during periods of heavy rainfall and present a flood risk to property.

    Many years ago, GBC planned and built a brick culvert partly to alleviate this risk. It didn’t transfer the ownership of the culvert nor inform the residents, whose land is next to it, that they have riparian responsibilities to maintain it. Nonetheless, as it deteriorates, GBC continues to maintain that it is the householder’s responsibility.

    GBC has a responsibility for a further culvert upstream and whilst temporary repairs were made to the collapsing walls and an acceptance that repairs should urgently be made, many years have passed and no rebuilding has happened.

    In a similar way, SCC accepts that they are responsible for the culvert under the ‘A’road but not the grille that protects the culvert from being blocked by waterborne debris. I could go on.

    This “pass the parcel” or “not our responsibility” has been going on since 2013 and whilst representatives of relevant agencies regularly attend all the Flood Forum Meetings, no consensus has been achieved to develop a comprehensive solution to local flood prevention or a plan that sets out, for local residents, how, in real terms, the respective agencies will work together to achieve it.

    One is tempted to suggest that the real issue is budget protection, which appears to be taking precedence over meaningful action in Burpham and the Tumbling Bay Weir in Guildford.

  3. Martin Elliott Reply

    August 7, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    I believe I pointed out a couple of years ago, that there is a pedestrian/cycle bridge, due to be removed from its existing site, which could be recycled.

    As we moved to a contemporary design brief for Walnut Bridge, it was ignored.

    It would of course require some modification as well as adequate abutments to convert the Stoke Crossroads footbridge suitable for use at Tumbling Bay.

    However, there is another issue quietly appearing, the continuing spat between SCC Transport and all the borough and district councils.

    After the GBC members of Guildford Joint Committee refused to accept unknown charges for services, its been announced SCC have taken back maintenance of road verges and on-road parking (see: SCC Takes Back Highway Verge Cutting, Weed Control and On-street Parking Enforcement.

    There is also talk of simply ending the SCCs District Joint Committees which actually allowed cooperative decision-making and financial management on such shared areas of responsibility.

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