Nottinghamshire County Council says it will not pay anything towards the construction and upkeep of a new footbridge across the River Trent at Lady Bay and has reiterated its stance a new bridge is the wrong decision.
Instead, the authority will leave management costs and upkeep to both Nottingham City Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council – the two authorities pushing forward with the plans.
The two councils recently confirmed Trent Basin as the preferred location for the footbridge, which would connect pedestrians and cyclists to facilities like Colwick Country Park from the south side of the river.
It would also be used as a walkway for those attending Nottingham Forest games and create better links between West Bridgford and the city centre.
The structure will be the first new bridge over the River Trent since Clifton Bridge opened in 1958, and forms part of a £9.2 million plan.
However, the county council has distanced itself from the proposals and believes the money should have been spent making improvements to the nearby Lady Bay Bridge.
The authority says those improvement works would have offered “better value for money” due to lower construction costs, shorter construction timescales, and “negligible” maintenance costs.
Now the council has confirmed it does not plan to enter into an agreement to part-fund the bridge’s construction and future maintenance – leaving the funds to be picked up by the other councils.
The authority’s transport and environment committee will be recommended to approve the stance when councillors meet on February 9.
A report published ahead of the meeting states: “The county council considers improvements to the existing Lady Bay Bridge would have been a better value for money option, as it was identified as the preferred scheme option in the initial feasibility study.
“As the scheme promoter, the city council has, however, determined that it wishes to construct a new bridge.
“Given the above, it is considered that neither the construction costs of the overall project nor its ongoing future maintenance liability costs should fall to the county council.
“It is therefore proposed that the county council does not enter into any agreement to lead on and/or fund/part-fund either the construction, future improvements to, or any future maintenance liabilities for the new bridge.”
Rushcliffe and Nottingham councils’ preferred option would see the bridge land on old industrial space near the Trent Basin housing development on one side and near the Trent Fields on the other, backing onto The Hook in Lady Bay.
Two other sites identified as potential locations were Poulton Drive and Trent Lane, but both were “discounted” as not being cost-effective.
Planners say the Trent Basin site will complement the other four other Nottingham bridges already built close by – Wilford Toll Bridge, the Suspension Bridge, Trent Bridge and Lady Bay Bridge.
It is part of wider plans to improve cycle paths on Daleside Road, as well as around West Bridgford and Colwick Park.
Councillor Rosemary Healy (Lab), city council portfolio holder for highways and transport, previously said: “We have discounted the other two options because the Trent Basin route is more cost-effective, and it is less impactful on green spaces on the southside.
“The project will open up new walkways and cycling routes for leisure and commuting. It will also make it easy for people to use sustainable transport to alleviate traffic pressure in the city especially over the River Trent.”
The boundary between the city and Rushcliffe borough runs along the centre of the river, so a joint planning application will be needed.
This is expected to be submitted this year, with the bridge scheduled for spring 2023.
It will be part-funded by the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.