Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 19:44 UK

'Bridge to nowhere' sparks anger

Partly-finished bridge over River Wandle, Colliers Wood
The bridge's design was said to be unsuitable for flood conditions

Residents have called for a half-finished bridge over a south-west London river, known as the "bridge to nowhere", to be completed.

The bridge was meant to cross the River Wandle in Colliers Wood, linking a housing development to a nature park.

But by 2007 work halted amid concern from the Environment Agency that it might block the river and cause floods.

Developer George Wimpey said it was Merton Council's duty to complete the bridge but the council denied this.

The bridge was part of a planning agreement between the council and Bewley Homes, linking their Bewley Estate to the nature park on the river's east bank.

Unable to cross

But after planning permission was granted and construction of the bridge began, concerns were raised that it could form an obstruction to the flow of water during flooding.

People can't believe that we've got a bridge - a really good bridge - that doesn't go anywhere
Resident Keith Allen

The cost of altering the bridge was estimated at £75,000. The bridge's construction ended and has yet to resume.

As a result people living on the estate, which is now managed by developer George Wimpey, are still unable to cross the river to the nature park.

Colliers Wood Residents' Association spokesman Keith Allen said: "People can't believe that we've got a bridge - a really good bridge - that doesn't go anywhere."

'Unfinished cake'

A spokesman for Merton Council described the half-finished bridge as "a great frustration" and "an embarrassment".

"We had negotiated with a developer in a very positive manner to secure this and other facilities, and it's a great sadness that it hasn't come to fruition," he said.

The George Wimpey spokesman said: "We sympathise with the local residents but can confirm that we have completed our obligation to the local authority, in which we agreed to build a footbridge over the River Wandle.

"In accordance with our legal agreement with the local authority, they are now required to complete the ramp down to ground level."

Saturday is the second anniversary of the appearance of the "bridge to nowhere", and residents will be marking the occasion by holding a party on the east bank complete with some "unfinished" cake.

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