Work has finally begun on a footbridge linking a Wimborne supermarket to the Crown Mead shopping precinct.
The long-awaited footbridge crossing the River Allen was an essential condition of the planning permission for the Waitrose supermarket back in 2010. Six years later, after land ownership issues delayed initial proceedings, the bridge construction has finally begun with an estimated completion date of mid-November 2016.
Despite concerns from the East Street traders that the footbridge will drive pedestrian traffic away from them, the Wimborne Business Improvement District say that the footbridge’s impact on the town will be positive.
Ian Faulkner, Chairman of Wimborne Business Improvement District, said “I think there is a concern that the foot traffic that will have gone to the east end of town will now just have gone straight into Crown Mead – but I think that’s about how we signpost what is in the east end of Wimborne and make it somewhere where people want to go.”
Ultimately, the Wimborne Business Improvement District is hopeful that the bridge will regenerate the Crown Mead area. Mr Faulkner added: “It will push a lot of people over into Crown Mead, and thereby hopefully into the rest of the town. The heart of Wimborne Minster is the Minster Church, and if you think about the geography of Wimborne, all of the roads look at and go towards the Minster. And this will enable us to draw a line from Waitrose all the way into the heart of the Minster. So from a historic and geographic perspective, actually it’s the right thing to do.”