Whilst strictly an "off cumden", I have been very pleased and fortunate to live in Burley-in-Wharfedale for most of my life. A safer crossing than we have now would enhance mine and many other walkers' options. There are four distinct footpath routes out of Askwith shown on the 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map which quickly multiply like a family tree.
A river crossing will provide for people wanting to cross from both sides, enable alternative circular walks from Ilkley and Otley both of which now have "Walkers Are Welcome" status (see here ) and potentially provide some additional trade to businesses in Burley, especially those who can provide food and drink to those hungry and thirsty walkers who would not otherwise have no reason to pass through the village.
Save Our Stones is in favour of a bridge but it has to be a bridge appropriate to its surroundings and proportionate to the need. All a walker need is a simple low cost, low tech means of crossing the river. There are excellent examples of relatively simple suspension bridges at Ilkley and Addingham and even a very basic design such as at Hebden would suffice and even be fun.
It is difficult to justify spending £1 million pounds or more on a bridge which is basically simply for ramblers to enjoy themselves when there are so many more worthy causes, not to mention the aesthetic tragedy of an overblown design at that tranquil location.
The witholding of necessary consents by landowners, excessive design, massive cost and absence of meaningful funds have so far meant this bridge has not been built. Remember, this has been an ongoing issue since 1901 at least.
After over 100 years, we have long since passed the point where one has to conclude the bridge will never happen so let's look for a more pragmatic approach, namely restoration of "The Stones".
It is not as though such restoration precludes a bridge in the future.
Let's put some effort into securing a realistic solution to crossing the river before we are all dead and Save our Stones (SOS).
A result of the campaign and public support so far is that the Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council have taken up the matter and are pressing Bradford Council to repair The Stones but more public support would be welcome. There may be funding issues. It could be that some of the volunteer labour which carries out excellent projects around the village could divert some resources to The Stones.
Note 15 July 2013
The position on the bridge changes and a more simple footbridge is now proposed. However the issue of landowners consent is unresolved
For up to date information on the bridge, see the Burley Bridge Association website.
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