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Burley-in-Wharfedale Bridge champion will share calls of support
Celebrity Masterchef finalist Janet Street-Porter and president of the Burley Bridge Association (BBA) is taking time out of the kitchen to visit the village, where a 17-year-long campaign to build a bridge over the river Wharfe is at a turning point.
On Saturday the media personality will come to Burley-in-Wharfedale to walk with supporters to a proposed suspension footbridge site – as the bridge campaign reveals it is just £500 short of the £23,000 needed to submit a planning application.
The keen rambler is expected to call messages of support across the river at Leather Bank to campaigners on the North Yorkshire side.
The bridge is intended to provide year-round access between Burley and Askwith at a point where there are stepping stones and a weir.
It is to link existing rights of way and open up a network of countryside paths within Nidderdale’s Area of Outstanding Beauty.
Janet said: “This is the closest we’ve been to getting this much-needed bridge built.
“Despite the obvious benefits to local people and to walkers from further afield, the campaign has had to overcome many obstacles “I know this bridge will be built, but let’s hope it’s going to be sooner rather than later now.”
The design to be lodged with the application to both Harrogate and Bradford councils is the third produced so far – with the last one judged too large.
This one is by Ramboll, the engineers behind York’s Millennium Bridge and a bridge at the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield. It will cost around £300,000.
Campaigners have faced resistance from local landowners and been challenged by the need to deal with multiple local authorities and more recently, fundraising.
But the project has been the beneficiary of several large donations, including an anonymous one for £10,000 and £2,000 from the Ramblers’ Association Peter Young, secretary of the BBA and member since 1996, said: “We’ve come such a long way, it is very exciting. We urge people to show their support by joining us on Saturday and to donate what they can so we reach this key target quickly.”
It is expected that much of the £300,000 for the build will come from grant-making bodies such as the National Lottery.
Earlier attempts to have a bridge built date back as far as 1898, after a child drowned when crossing the stepping stones.
Janet is to meet supporters at the Generous Pioneer pub, Ilkley Road, Burley-in-Wharfedale, at 2.30pm.
For more information or to make a donation, visit burleybridge.com or e-mail membership secretary Donald Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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