- Not known.
- But the land each side belongs (like the rest of the Millennium Green) to the Millennium Green Trust
- The watercourse it crosses is called the New Reach – dug in 1760 for boat traffic up to the town. It is designated as a village green (honest) which means E Suffolk District Council have an interest in it.
- Public right of way (footpath) passes over it, which gives SCC the duty to maintain it for footpath purposes only.
- It’s also an ‘accommodation bridge’ for the landowner – (the Millennium Green Trust) – who need to get (small) machinery over it to manage the land on both sides. This requires a width greater than footpath width, and a “point loading” greater than for a footpath.
Organisations who have an interest
- Millennium Green Trust – owners and managers of the land. Need to get mowing machines across the bridge.
- Halesworth Town Council – because it’s a public amenity in the town
- East Suffolk District Council – because the New Reach (the waterway which flows underneath the bridge) is a registered village green (from Patrick Stead Lock to the lock in Blyth Meadow), the DC has a power to intervene to protect village greens
- Suffolk County Council – manage the highways and the rights of way network
- Environment Agency – have a water level control feature under the bridge (a set of sluice boards) which keeps the New Reach full of water even in periods of low rainfall and low flow.
Quick history of this closure
- June 2021 concern raised about safety of bridge by SCC engineers at routine regular inspection. Weight restriction imposed on HMG operations – which stopped us taking heavier mowing machinery across
- June – Nov 2021 Millennium Green Trustees repeatedly emailed asking for updates and offering fundraising help, to avoid sudden closure
- Aug 2022 SCC engineers’ inspection resulted in sudden closure. Flimsy barriers erected – easily got round by townspeople. Months of discussion began between SCC and the Millennium Green Trustees.
- Mar 2023 very strong, permanent barriers erected.
- Enormous local protest including petitions, emails to SCC members and Radio Suffolk coverage.
- EDP and EADT featured story.
- SCC announced extra budget to speed up the process.
Two thirds of a mile (over 1km) – via Town Park, Blyth Mews, Quay Street, Arthur’s Wood, Orchard, Folly Meadow etc
Map from Google Maps