100? (definitely no) – 500? (still a no) – 1000? (still no) – 2000? (we don’t know if this is accurate – so still no) – 5000? (this figure can’t be justified – so no) – the answer is … No??
How many Stratford and District Residents (and Visitors) – does it take saying ‘We cannot cross Lucy’s Mill Bridge’ for a decision to be made about making it accessible to everyone?
In this post, you’ll find three letters, two from Warwickshire County Council and one reply from us, the Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge. These letters may give you an idea about why that question hasn’t been answered (yet) or what the costs could be if some ‘dream plans’ were to come to fruition.
The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge haven’t published anything for several months. We apologise if you were waiting for news but we’ve been waiting for responses to the work that we’ve done. (With SO much help from all sorts of people – from residents through to local councillors – we thank you all!)
First shown to Residents at our Open Afternoon
Saturday 2nd December – in the Town Hall
Over the past two months, the Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge have completed 29 hours of physical surveying of people using the bridge (actually counting as people arrive and come off the bridge rather than interviewing bridge users).
We’ve also had paper surveys available in three of Stratford’s Public Buildings, alongside an online survey (of the same questions as the paper versions) that has been widely publicised, especially through the help of the Stratford Herald, the Stratford on Avon Facebook Forum and the ‘SUAhour’ Twitter group.
Lots of information and videos about this work was on display at the Town Hall, but pride of place was the results of several months work by Hawkes Edwards and the Avon Navigation Trust. The Herald had a preview of the architects drawings but people attending the exhibition were able to see a three dimensional video – a flyover of what the ramps would look like when in place and from the perspective of someone walking along the riverbank then over the bridge.
Flyover Presentation – If you would like to see the Flyover Presentation please CLICK HERE.
Hawkes Edwards are one of Stratford’s premier architects and are Historic Building Consultants. Our thanks go especially to Trevor Edwards and one of his team John Quinn. The bridge was surveyed through the Avon Navigation Trust, the group who manage all the waterways in and around our town. To look closely at accessibility, a mock of the proposed ramps was laid out in a car park (thanks very much to Stratford District Council) and representatives of Accessibility Groups invited to test out the proposed layout.
This design would only use publicly owned land. None of the new specimen trees on the south side of the river would need to be removed. In fact they would create a boulevard for the ramp on the south side. The advice of the Avon Navigation Trust (and their support) was invaluable in showing the best ramp route possible and we would very much like to thank Roger Clay, Mike Sheard and Jeff Holt for all their involvement and advice. It was also through the Trust that we do have a professional estimate of the project costs, work done by John Redmond of Faithful+Gould. Thanks very much John for all your work.
The Friends would very much like to hear what you think – please email Designs@lucysmillbridge.co.uk . A link to this feature has been posted on the Stratford Facebook Forum so you could respond there but if you would like to reply privately, please do email us as soon as you want to (same email link). Please do say what you feel, whether you like this option or you would rather see something else – a replacement bridge or a new bridge further downstream.
You can also take a look at all the other presentations from the Open Afternoon –
1) This is a summary of the physical surveying – at least four hours of each day of the week
The peak numbers crossing the bridge were in excess of 300 residents and visitors over an hour and the minimum numbers (per hour) we observed were around 60 bridge crossings.
We classified people by age and then whether they had a dog, a bike, pushchairs etc and how easy it was for them to climb the steps. All of this information is in an Excel spreadsheet and we will make this available to anyone interested (not just sending it to Warwickshire County Council). If you are good with Pivot Tables, or would just like to see these results, please do email us and we will send them to you. We’d really appreciate seeing your own analysis.
All these survey results will combine with the spreadsheet model we’ve made of the different areas of Stratford, and how individuals and families could use the bridge. This model will be available for you to look at in January.
2) This is a presentation of some of the feedback from the online and paper surveys that residents and visitors have completed
It’s lots of quotes of what people said about their use of the bridge, and the other options – both positive and negative.
We will analyse the full results and present them in January and put all this evidence into the pack we will give to all the statutory authorities who would be involved in making a decision about the bridge, and the viable option of the ramps above.
3) This is a video of all the entries in the ‘Lucy’s Lifts’ competition – the fun design competition for 12s and unders to be architects and designers for a day.
There are some small prizes and winners will be announced on Friday 8th December with a number being presented at Bishopton School that afternoon – Congratulations to those young people who have won a prize and our thanks to everyone who entered. There was lots of creativity and fun!
4) Finally, this is a video of many of the ‘Paws’ who cross the bridge each day. As you will have seen from the physical surveying, we counted nearly 600 ‘dog crossings’ (we saw some dogs more than once). If your ‘Best Friend’ isn’t on this montage, please do take a picture and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that when we produce our final video, they will be there!
That is it for 2017. We are only a very small team who could not have done any of the above without the support of professional people and groups who, like us, would love to see Lucy’s Mill Bridge be a bridge everyone can use.
The option of these ramps is viable. There is work going on at the site of the new marina that will bring more people to our town, people who would find Lucy’s Mill Bridge a far more convenient way into our lovely town than using the riverbank walk.
But, and all our surveying shows this, there are hundreds – actually thousands – who already do use this bridge, some with great difficulty, and because the bridge hasn’t been ‘for everyone’ for many many years, there are going to be hundreds (at the least) who just don’t go down to Stratford’s third footbridge, because they know they cannot use it.
This number could well be over a thousand; if you look at the 25,000 or so people who live in our Town and then break that down into young families with pushchairs, into those who have retired but find steps difficult, and especially anyone who uses a mobility scooter or a wheelchair – people who simply cannot use the bridge.
Have a wonderful time over Christmas and the New Year. We thank you for all your support and please do share this page with friends who may be interested.
If you go to London, you’ll know many of the bridges by name. Some will be on a ‘to-be-photographed-on’ list. Across the whole of the UK, many towns like Stratford have old bridges that are still in (ever busier) use that are pictured in tourist and generic PR for that town. We have two such bridges – Clopton Bridge with its refurbished Toll House and the old mill next door to it – and the Tramway Bridge which once was a key piece of infrastructure for residents and businesses in times gone by.
Lucy’s Mill Bridge was just such a key bridge and if you’ve looked at the history (Link – Actions To Date) you’ll have seen that it has had several incarnations, including once being made of wood.
The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge want to give the bridge a future where its used by everyone.
There are three options:
1) That the present bridge is modified – modifications which retain or offer as much of the style and design of the present build. There are Art Deco influences. The bridge was made of concrete – which for when it was built was quite innovative.
2) A new bridge is built close to the site of the present bridge
3) A new bridge is built which replaces the present structure
Elsewhere on this site you”ll be able to find info about how cost comes into each option – the minimum spend to have a structure which will last for a considerable time and has low maintenance costs then of course that if more design work is put into any of the above options, or special materials used, that the visual impact of the bridge will increase so people will want to go and see it – really to be impressed.
However, just the actual story of giving the bridge a proper future (and being accessible by everyone is just that – a ‘proper’ future) – this will make the bridge a tourist attraction, a town asset.
If somehow a new bridge was built with lots of respectful innovation, yes that would be notable and can be used year on year to say and show how our Town is a wonderful place – but if the solution is simply the most cost effective and simple renovations, that is a story that is worth telling and should continue to be told.
Do though think about how Lucy’s Mill Bridge is part of your everyday life – whether you use it regularly or just once in a while. Yes that it becomes a town asset is important, but that is helps all our residents and visitors enjoy and have practical access to all of the town – this is the key issue!
Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge – Open Afternoon –
Please Come Along – We’ve Lots to Show You!!!!
On Saturday 2nd December, from 2-5pm, we will be hosting an Open Afternoon in the Town Hall, at the top of Sheep Street. We’ve lots to show you if you can come along.
You will be the first to see drawings and some actual architectural designs, for an option to add ramps to the present bridge, so making it a bridge for everyone. The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge have had some wonderful help from Stratford architects Hawkes Edwards, along with lots of support from the Avon Navigation Trust, and the presentation you will see represents a viable option so that all Stratford Residents – and all our Visitors – will be able to use the bridge.
That’s not all!!!
You will be the first to see the results of the physical surveying of actual numbers of people who presently use the bridge – and records of people who have arrived at Lucy’s Mill and NOT been able to cross.
We’ve covered everyday of the week. We have surveyed early in the morning – and seen 60+ people an hour using the bridge. On a really sunny Sunday, that figure was well over 300 people. These figures are for Autumn use, so will be higher in Summer months. You will be able to see that the bridge is used several thousand times a week.
What we’ve also done is create a database model, breaking down our Town into small areas – such as Saffron Meadow and Old Town, Evesham and Banbury Roads, the residents of Bridgetown, visitors parking at Rec, people working in Central Stratford etc. This model can be used in conjunction with the physical surveys to show where people come from and where they go to.
You, as an individual Stratford Resident, can have a copy of this model and put it any figures you feel are appropriate. One of the key local statistics you could include is that there are more than 1000 people who claim a disability allowance and live in the locality. For many of these fellow Stratford residents, using Lucy’s Mill Bridge has never been an option.
There are two more displays you will be able to take a look at. The first will be all the entrants in the ‘Lucy’s Lift’ competition – and we will announce the prize winners!
The second will be a montage of pictures – pictures of many of the dogs who take a walk across the bridge, some everyday of the week! Thanks must go to all the owners who have allowed pictures of their wonderful animals to be taken.
You will be able to give your thoughts on everything you see. There will also be hard copies of the online survey that we are running. If you haven’t done so yet, please use the links below for \residents or \visitors. If you have friends who come to Stratford – whether once or twice a year, or a few times a month, please ask if they could complete the Vistors Survey.
We are going to use TV screens to show you some of these presentations. You’ll be able to take a couple of minutes to watch then talk to ‘Friend’ about what you’ve seen. The more screens we can have available the better so if you are a Stratford Hotel (who has a screen that is used by conferences say during the week) might you be able to let us borrow it? Or it could be that you have a presentation screen you use as part of your business?
We’d also like to offer visitors some refreshments if possible. Saturday is going to be a really busy day with visitors but if you are a Stratford Cafe or hotel and could bake a few extra biscuits or little cakes, we’d love to be able to offer them to guests. As soon as you could say ‘yes’ we will promote your name in everything about this special day.
This will be the end of a busy year for the Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge. The one thing we haven’t been able to get you yet is all the background work done on the bridge in the past 10-15 years. We will ask Warwickshire County Council for what they can give us and hopefully start 2018 with this.