Merton Council were granted permission for a new bridge to be built over the River Wandle in Bishopsford Road on Thursday. 

Plans for the Bishopsford Road Bridge design were given the go-ahead at Merton Council’s Planning Committee meeting on October 22, despite opposition from 14 community groups.

The new bridge will replace the previous structure, which had to be demolished earlier this year, after partially collapsing into the River Wandle after heavy rainfall in June 2019. 

MORE: Community groups slam 'fatally flawed' Bishopsford Bridge design

Merton Council says they have been working closely with gas, electricity, water and broadband providers, as well as the Environment Agency, to reduce the risk of flooding.

The river crossing, along the A217, will be wider than the previous bridge, to include a northbound segregated cycle lane and a wider shared southbound pavement and cycle space. 

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The new design, which has a single span, rather than three arches like the old bridge, was developed following a public consultation earlier this year.

Following feedback from a vast number of residents, the council and WSP elected to complete the bridge design with active travel incorporated. 

MORE: Bishopsford Road Bridge to include active travel

Plans will see, railings replace the historic brick wall along Ravensbury Park, opening up views from the bridge- the wooden footbridge crossing will remain. 

Community groups raised concerns about the plans removing 23 trees and a small cluster of young trees. 

But Merton Council has said that 26 new trees would be planted as part of the new plans. 

Merton Council says the plans will also help promote biodiversity and include bat boxes and a ledge for otters.  

Your Local Guardian: Credit to Mark Gale Credit to Mark Gale

Work on rebuilding the bridge is due to begin next month and is expected to open in 2021.  

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: 

“The new bridge will result in significantly improved infrastructure and the granting of planning permission will enable us to get on with the job and get this vital crossing re-opened at the earliest opportunity.

“We know many residents and businesses have been impacted by its closure and we will be working closely with our partners to safely build a new bridge which meets modern standards along with enhanced provision for cycling and pedestrians.

 "I look forward to seeing the new bridge re-open and working with the community on delivering this key infrastructure as construction gets underway.”