Ecos footbridge set for replacement

The ecos centre. (Editorial Image).
The ecos centre. (Editorial Image).

A proposal to replace a popular footbridge which spans the Braid River within ecos park has been approved by Mid & East Antrim Council’s Planning Committee.

The planning application by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council seeks to replace the old wooden structure, which is now deemed unsafe, with a new green coloured fabricated steel single span 27m-long footbridge approximately six metres south of the existing bridge which is known as the ‘Summerfield Footbridge’.

Bringing details to the Committee’s August monthly meeting in The Braid on Thursday, Principal Planning Officer Gary McGuinness said the old footbridge at the site to the north east of Kernohan’s Lane, off Broughshane Road, was “no longer fit for purpose” and confirmed it had been closed for health and safety reasons.

He said the old structure would be removed and the existing embankments and unused paths removed and reinstated to their natural form.

Recommending approval of the application, Mr McGuinness said that all statutory consultees were satisfied subject to attached conditions bar the Rivers Agency which had been consulted as the site was within a flood plain and which had initially recommended refusal. However, he said that this was overruled as the proposal was deemed exceptional under Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 15 as it constituted a replacement structure. He added that said the new bridge would be some four metres above the level of the river and was unlikely to be subject to flooding.

The committee went on to unanimously approve the application on the proposal of Cr Paul Reid, seconded by Cr Audrey Wales.

It will be brought before next month’s meeting of the council to be ratified.