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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 17:36 GMT
'Ridiculous' bridge's second ramp
Curre Street steps
Steps have been erected at the lower end of the bridge
A 500,000 bridge condemned as "ridiculous" by campaigners after only one side had a ramp for disabled people will now have a ramp on the other end.

Access to St Paul's footbridge in Cwm near Ebbw Vale was by steps at both entrances, but just a single ramp.

Local people were angry that full disabled access was not available.

They have welcomed the decision by Blaenau Gwent Council that ramp access will be built on both sides of the bridge in the spring.

Bob Brain, of Cwm Welfare Tenants and Residents Association, who lives near the bridge said people were overjoyed about the news.

"None of us could understand how they could build a beautiful bridge like that but not have proper disabled access," he said.

Parents with prams haven't been able to use it... and people who use wheelchairs could get on it but not off on the other side
Resident Bob Brain
"It was absolutely incredible that they put a ramp on one side but not on the other.

"A lot of parents with prams haven't been able to use it when they are walking their children to school and people who use wheelchairs could get on it but not off on the other side.

"It is like a shot in the arm - everyone is so chuffed at what has happened," he said.
Bob Brain
Bob Brain has campaigned for disabled access on the bridge
"Finally the bridge will be accessible for everyone - which is what it should have been in the first place."

I'm pleased that we have been able to overcome the difficulties faced in making the footbridge more accessible to disabled users
Cllr Gill Clark

A council spokesman said the steep flight of steps leading from Cwm Road would be replaced by a series of stepped ramps, similar to those provided on the side.

He said: "Replacing these steep steps has presented considerable problems due to the differences in ground level, the limited amount of land actually owned by the council, and geotechnical difficulties in the area.

"However, the council anticipates that the new stepped ramps will be accessible during the spring."

Councillor Gill Clark, the executive member for highways and transportation, said: "I'm pleased that we have been able to overcome the difficulties faced in making the footbridge more accessible to disabled users.

"We have worked in partnership with the Disability Rights Commission in endeavouring to reach a solution which offers the best use of the space and terrain available."

Alun Thomas, of the Disability Rights Commission said he hoped it would not be too steep for wheelchair users.

The bridge was funded by the Welsh Assembly Government as part of a 29m new road scheme.




SEE ALSO:
New bridge disabled access row
12 May 04 |  South East Wales
Anger at 'ridiculous' bridge plan
16 Jun 04 |  South East Wales


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