‘Batts Ford bridge will ease traffic’

The site of the proposed Batts Ford Bridge.
The site of the proposed Batts Ford Bridge.

A pensioner is backing plans for Bedford’s Batts Ford bridge after an ambulance was delayed reaching her retirement complex due to traffic.

Audrey Hughes, of St John’s Street, has spoken out in favour of the traffic-busting bridge after it was slammed by former Bedfordshire county planning experts.

The T&C reported last week that former assistant surveyor Alex Greene and former assistant planning inspector Joe Street branded the proposed bridge ‘an environmental, economic and traffic disaster for the town’.

On Wednesday, an ambulance rushing to the aid of a tenant who had fallen over was delayed, Mrs Hughes said, due to traffic gridlock caused by a broken down vehicle.

She claims the Batts Ford bridge would have helped to ease the traffic jams.

“We needed an ambulance this morning for one of our residents and it took ages to get there because of traffic jams - because they haven’t got this bridge to take them straight across,” she said.

The elderly resident had pulled her alarm cord after falling at home at around 8.45am but paramedics were unable to get their until 9.30am.

A broken down vehicle in Longholme Way caused traffic mayhem during rush hour with the road and many of the surrounding streets gridlocked as a result.

Police officers had to be called in to direct traffic around the vehicle until the breakdown recovery service arrived.

Mrs Hughes said: “If the traffic went over this new bridge it would help a hell of a lot.”

Earlier this year, funding was pledged towards the bridge, which would link Borough Hall to River Street, under the government’s Local Growth Fund.

But Mr Street, also a former HM Planning Inspector, has said the bridge proposal should be scrapped and says a plan drawn up in the 1970s for a western relief road would be a better solution.

But Mrs Hughes said: “Would Alex Greene and Joe Street descend from their cloud and observe the traffic jams both in and out of St John’s and St Mary’s Street, and tell us what they themselves actually planned and where they live now.”