Broadcaster leads Wharfe trek to back long battle for footbridge

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JOURNALIST and countryside campaigner Janet Street-Porter led 70 people to the river Wharfe on Saturday to support a 17-year fight for a footbridge at Burley-in-Wharfedale, near Ilkley.

Visiting the site of a proposed bridge, the 66-year-old president of the Burley Bridge Association said there was a need for circular walks in the area and it was “ludicrous” that the communities of Askwith and Burley were not linked by a footpath.

“I feel so strongly about it. I’m annoyed the bridge hasn’t been built yet. Walking is my passion.”

The bridge is intended to link existing rights of way and open up a network of paths in Nidderdale’s Area of Outstanding Beauty.

BBA committee member David Asher said: “Janet has given us an excellent boost to the campaign. Let’s hope we proceed to get approval from the respective planning authorities soon. We’re urging anyone who has concerns about the impact of the bridge to come forward and discuss them with us.”

Campaigners recently revealed they were just £500 short of the £23,000 needed to submit a planning application. The design to be lodged with 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 and was described by Street-Porter as “beautiful and elegant”.

It will cost about £300,000 which is expected to come from grant-making bodies such as the National Lottery.