Footbridge over the river linking Rowhedge with Wivenhoe

A subject discussed before on the Forum is on the agenda of the WTC for Monday 17th February.

Item 4: To consider any points raised by members of the public of which written notice has been given:
a) John Niland from Rowhedge regarding the possibility of a footbridge from Rowhedge to Wivenhoe (enc).



  • I think it would be a fantastic idea. Certainly for London commuters that live in Rowhedge.
  • And could be funded by a levy on new houses in Rowhedge, arguably even on existing houses (assuming there was a mechanism) given that uplift in house values over the water which would ensue. Added benefit of extending the viability of our station....
  • Are we talking tilt, swing, folding, table or retractable? Or just very high?
  • Surely not in Old Ferry Road ?
  • Interesting. I reckon the pub might do well out of it too and maybe they could charge for parking on the Rowhedge side as well. Nothing like healthy competition for the space there and some relief for OFR residents while the buck is being passed around...

    To save money on design (and endless consultations and committee meetings), we can simply copy the one upriver at the Hythe, which I am sure would suffice.


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  • edited February 2014
    The previous bridge linking Rowhedge to Wivenhoe got a mention on the Forum back in 2012. There is also a link to a survey that was being carried out as to whether a new one was needed.

    And here is a link to a photo of the original bridge:

    "Sailing barge prepares to drop down through the opening in the Army
    bridge across the Colne connecting Rowhedge with Wivenhoe. This was
    built by the Royal Engineers during the 1914-18 war."

    John Niland, (a Rowhedge resident) who is putting forward the idea of a new bridge crossing in Wivenhoe on Monday, was a transport planner with Essex County Council. 
  • The full results from the neighbourhood plan survey are not available yet but preliminary scanning suggests that not very many people put a footbridge to Rowhedge on their wish list, though some did.  This does not mean it would not be used if it were built.  I think it did feature in the last Town Plan.  I thought that opposition to the idea had come from the Rowhedge side as the residents were worried about potential commuter parking in the streets of Rowhedge.  Is there anywhere in Rowhedge where an additional carpark handy to such a bridge could be built?
  • edited February 2014
    Trip down memory lane...other novel suggestions on the Forum were posted in 2011 here...
  • Quick one in the Albion, anyone?
  • Not till they build the bridge
  • edited February 2014
    There are definitely pros and cons with having a bridge to link the two communities. 

     On the plus side it would allow for a fantastic circular walk along the river bank. Local businesses would undoubtedly benefit from the increase of footfall as it would allow more options for residents as well as bringing in more visitors that would be attracted by the walking and fantastic pubs we have on both sides of the river. Rowhedge residents would benefit from the increase in house prices as well as enjoying access to the station. More people using the station would strengthen the case of keeping a station in Wivenhoe into the future. Improved access to a train station would be a lifeline for many residents of Rowhedge being able to use the train to travel around the local area, nationally and it would be an easy option to get to Stansted Airport. The youngsters of Rowhedge would have access to the skate park and play area as well as the sailing club. Rowhedge residents would also get use of the library. It may also be an opportune time for such a development with the proposed building work to be going ahead on Rowhedge Wharf. Bloor Homes may even be talked into getting involved as it would make their housing easier to sell and at a higher price. A new car park could be linked to this development too. It would allow local groups to share resources such as the sailing and rowing clubs, the brilliant table tennis club in Rowhedge, the film nights, and much more. In general it would greatly improve links between the communities. 

    On the downside, the increase in house prices would make it more difficult for locals youngsters to buy a home in the village. There is likely to be more people parking in the village to get access to the train station and parking is arguably more of an issue in Rowhedge than it is in Wivenhoe. Rowhedge would change from being a quiet village to a more busy commuter town. There could be problems with conflicts between youngsters, although this would be a small minority.  If not done properly it could impact on the environment and spoil the view of the river.  It might be a lot of money that could be spent on something else.

    Overall it is a very interesting proposal and one that I am looking forward to hearing the reaction of the populace.
  • edited February 2014
    There might be government funding for something like this due to the health benefits from increased walking and cycling once the new footpath has been laid on the Rowhedge side.
  • Records of bridge crossings from Wivenhoe to Rowhedge go back even further than the first world war. There was a crossing there in 1718 according to British History Online.

    "By 1718 there was a ferry and moveable bridge or ford,
    accessible only at low tide, over the Colne between Wivenhoe and
    Rowhedge. The bridge may have been rebuilt in 1725, when it was held by a
    A road linked the ferry hard to the upstream shipyard at the west end
    of the town. In 1866 it was in a 'disgraceful state' and the Tendring
    Hundred Railway Co. re- placed it with a new road, which had tollgates
    in 1888.
    The ford and ferry were still in use in the early 20th century, but,
    with increasing traffic and dredging of the river, had become dangerous,
    and there were demands for a bridge. A temporary bridge, opened by George V in 1916, was demolished after the First World War."
  • Roger, where is John Niland presenting on Monday?
  • At the Wivenhoe Town Council meeting. 7:30pm upstairs at the Hight St council offices.
  • Thanks Roger, I think I will come over for that. It sounds really interesting!

    A walk that would be much improved with a bridge.
  • edited February 2014
    A picture of King George V crossing Rowhedge Bridge that I believe would now be in front of The Ye Old Albion
    Pub can be seen in this publication from the Rowhedge Village Association in 1977: Recollections (1800-1977).pdf

  • edited February 2014
    Investment by Bloor Homes? If there was a bridge then their house prices would probably be pushed up by somewhere in the region of £10,000 to £30,000 per home.

    Let's say £10,000. With 170 homes that would be an increase of value of £1.7 million. Maybe scope for an investment opportunity.

    Another thought on design. With the history of boat building, a bridge suspended from the mast and sprit of a Thames barge might offer a pleasing view by the river:
  • edited February 2014
    The presentation was well recieved tonight at the council meeting with the majority in favour of the idea of a bridge to join the two communities.

    No additional concerns from the ones already mentioned and a lot of positive comments. I guess it will come down to what the people of Rowhedge think about it and whether the concerns of parking are addressed as well as who is actually going to pay for it. However, it was also mentioned that no tax payers money should be used if it was to go ahead. John Niland also said that it may cost somewhere in the region £500,000 to £750,000 which, if it does increase the house prices for the new Bloor Homes development, then they could quite easily fit this into their plans. To avoid damaging the SSSI land opposite the Anchor/Albion it could be taken from the corner of the wharf where the new homes will be on the Rowhedge side to the corner the of the new homes on the Wivenhoe side suspended from a mast so it would not further damage the river habitat. However, someone will need to check who owns the land in question and whether the bridge would have to be open at all times for free access by boats, only closing for people to walk over. A possible toll was also mentioned, but I am not sure how that would work or whether it is something that people would really want, if they want a bridge at all.

    I suppose we will have to watch this space...
  • ..and this is the space we have to watch. The proposed crossing point as viewed from the Rowhedge side.
    A bit more about it all here.

  • Mention is made of Bloor Homes and 170 houses.  Is this a reference to the application, which currently seems to be dormant, to build on the former wharf at Rowhedge.  Is this being revived or is some other application in the pipe-line?
  • …there is a piece in today's Gazette about the Bloor Homes proposal. 

  • Is the viability of Wivenhoe station an issue?
  • @adrian made a good point last year on possible toll bridge that would open for boats using mobile phone:

    As to the viability of the station I have heard it mentioned in the past in conversation but I have not seen anything on paper or in an official capacity. Maybe somebody else that works with the station might know more about this.

    The proposed site, photographed by Roger above, may not be the best site for the bridge, especially with the environmental impact it would have on the Wivenhoe side. In my opinion, if this was to go ahead, it would be much better placed on the wharf as part of the new development. If a car park was put in too it would mean that traffic would not need to cut through the village.
  • edited February 2014
    To avoid damaging the SSSI land opposite the Anchor/Albion it could be taken from the corner of the wharf where the new homes will be on the Rowhedge side to the corner the of the new homes on the Wivenhoe side suspended from a mast so it would not further damage the river habitat. However, someone will need to check who owns the land in question and whether the bridge would have to be open at all times for free access by boats, only closing for people to walk over.  
     Not sure of the exact point on the Wivenhoe side that Lapwing means, but this is an aerial view of that part of the river.image

    And depending on which bit of land we are talking about it will either be owned by Colchester Borough Council or Persimmon Homes.
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