Civic societies, residents and groups have joined together to address the "disastrous" proposals with the new Bishopsford Road Bridge design. 

On October 22, the long-awaited plans for the new design will go to Merton Council's planning committee for approval. 

But, 14 community groups including Friends of Ravensbury Park, Mitcham Society and Wandle Valley Forum, says that although everyone wants the bridge to be rebuilt- it must still be fit for purpose. 

"The new bridge is being designed to last more than one hundred years and yet we are faced with a scheme that fells trees, demolishes a historic wall and tarmacs green space," the united groups told Wimbledon Times. 

MORE: Residents urged to sign Bishopsford Road Bridge consultation

It has taken over a year to fix the collapsed bridge which has caused disturbance to residents, with delayed journey times and bus diversions among other issues.

Your Local Guardian:

Councillor Martin Whelton says withdrawing the proposals would cause further delays to residents who have been majorly affected by the closure. 

He said: "These include elderly residents who, before TFL agreed to put on a shuttle bus service to Morden, felt cut off by the bus diversions in place and businesses like the petrol station next to the bridge who have suffered from a reduction in trade."

Council authorities say that the proposed bridge will be constructed at the same location as the existing bridge.

MORE: Bishopsford Road Bridge to include active travel

As part of the plans, the wall bordering Ravensbury Park is proposed to be substituted for a 1.5m high park railing, and proposals would also involve widening the bridge to incorporate pedestrian and cycle access. 

However, resident groups say that the proposed cycling provision should be redesigned, labelling the proposed shared-use pavement as "dangerous". 

They went onto say that residents in Rawnsley Avenue and Octavia Close will be directly affected by the removal of the historic wall and natural woodland.

They also claim that the removal of the wall will introduce traffic noise and pollution into homes, previously protected by the park boundary.

Your Local Guardian:

In the joint letter, it states: "We recognise the urgent need to reinstate a crossing of the Wandle but the proposed design is not fit for purpose.

We believe the best way forward is for you to withdraw the application and ask officers to bring forward options which are less constrained about the land available and better able to meet modern standards of bridge design.

"We are aware, for example, that the National Trust is open to a discussion about the role of Watermeads' land but it has not been approached about the bridge design."

In response, Councillor Whelton said: 

"As a cabinet member, I have been contacted by many local residents and businesses whose priority is to get the bridge reopened as soon as possible. 
"The plans will see the bridge widened onto council land to accommodate a segregated cycle lane and aims to make it safer for pedestrians. 

Entering into land negotiations with the National Trust, with the intention of widening the bridge even further to accommodate a second segregated cycle lane, will cause indeterminate delay to the project.

"It would result in the removal of street trees, parking and space for pedestrians along London Road and see the removal of even more mature trees and disturbance of habitat on what is currently National Trust Land. 
"Whilst we can appreciate the concern caused by removing the wall that boarders Ravensbury Park, we believe it is necessary to heed the advice from the Metropolitan Police's Designing Out Crime officer. 

"With so many young people using this as their route to school or to access the facilities at Tooting and Mitcham Football Club, it is vital that this design ensures people using the footpath can see and be seen by the road."

The joint letter was signed by residents and the below community groups: 

-Friends of Ravensbury Park
-Tree Warden Group Merton
-Mitcham Society
-Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage
-Wandle Valley Forum
-Watermeads Residents Association
-Ravensbury Residents Association
-Merton Living Streets
-Merton Green Party
-Friends of the Earth Merton
-Save Wimbledon Town
-Merton Matters