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The path across the former slip bridge on Swansea’s seafront is to be closed. The decision was made by Sue Arnott, the inspector acting for Welsh Ministers, at a public inquiry in June into Swansea Council’s proposed extinguishment of the route.
The plan was opposed by the Swansea Slip Bridge Civic Society, ourselves and others.
It’s a sad day for Swansea that this path is to be lost. If reinstated, it would have provided a valuable alternative to crossing the busy Oystermouth Road on the level. We believe that the Oystermouth Road is dangerous and that the existing crossing is no substitute for a public path over the top. The objectors produced evidence from the headteachers of two local schools arguing that the path over the bridge was needed by schoolchildren.
The arguments centred on whether the path is needed for public use, and the objectors argued compellingly that it was. The inspector found the arguments to be ‘finely balanced’, and she rightly pointed out that many objectors ‘felt betrayed’ by Swansea Council which had promised to replace the bridge span after its temporary removal for repair in 2004 but failed to do so.
The inspector concluded that because the focus of development in the Swansea Bay Strategy was further along the bay, use of the slip-bridge path would not be sufficient to justify its retention. We disagree with that conclusion.
However, the battle continues, as local campaigners are lobbying for the retention of the abutments of this historic bridge, which is a vital part of Swansea’s cultural heritage.