A 95-YEAR-OLD wheelchair user is among the voices calling for council chiefs to improve accessibility at Lucy’s Mill Bridge.
The footbridge – which runs alongside the Seven Meadows Road bridge – cannot currently be used by those in wheelchairs or by parents with prams while cyclists are forced to carry their bikes over the steps.
It has been the subject of much speculation over the years with Stratford Voice campaigning vigorously for a replacement but the scheme was abandoned owing to spiralling costs and local opposition back in 2009.
And now a new group – Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge (FOLMB) – is looking to fund an architect review, which they hope can convince county council chiefs to modify the bridge – making it suitable for everyone.
On Friday (June 27) members updated residents on the latest stage of their plans.
Lifelong Stratfordian Mary Morgan uses a wheelchair and sometimes a walking frame to get out and about and is one of those keen to see improvements made.
The 95-year-old told The Observer: “When my daughter used to bring the kids she couldn’t get the pram over and every time she takes me there now we look at the steps and always have to turn back.
“I’ve known Lucy’s Mill Bridge for years and it’s so sad that after I became disabled I couldn’t go over it any more. Even people with walking sticks have a job to balance themselves.
“I like Stratford and I don’t want to move but the fact is people are living longer, which means more are on sticks or walkers so something needs to be done to address this.”
Another person urging council chiefs to act is Peter Law whose wife Sheila has MS and has been wheelchair-bound for more than 20 years.
He said: “Until you’re disabled you don’t realise how reliant you are on other people. Lucy’s Mill Bridge is not far from where we live but crossing it is just not an option so if we want to get to the other side we always have to walk down through Old Town.”
And keen bowls player Val Selby admitted she also struggles to make it from one side of the bridge to the other.
She said: “I used to go to the bowls club on my bike but it’s very heavy and I can’t lift it at my age now. I have to take my bowls in a small trolley, which can be troublesome sometimes and I struggle to get up and down the steps.
“In the winter it’s even worse as they become icy and dangerous and I really think something needs to be done to make it accessible for everyone.”
Council chiefs have argued the bridge would be difficult to upgrade as it would involve using private land, which would require a compulsory purchase order that they say is unlikely to be granted.
Visit www.lucysmillbridge.co.uk for further information.
The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge group gathered for a coffee morning at the Town Hall to update councillors and residents on their latest plans – including lifelong Stratfordian Mary Morgan (seated centre) who is keen to see imporvments. 27.014.004.strat.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)
FOLMB treasurer Richard Eden with Sylvia Morris and Valerie Selby. 27.014.004.strat.jm4 (www.buyphotos247.com)
Chair of the FOLMB Ralph Brown. 27.014.004.strat.jm3 (www.buyphotos247.com)