Long-awaited river walk beset by delays

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A riverside walk connecting Great Cornard to Sudbury has been beset with delays over land swaps and legal issues.

A private detective has even been hired to track down a trustee whose signature was required on a legal document, according to Great Cornard district councillor Mark Newman.

Approval for a new footbridge and cycle path to be built across the River Stour was given the go-ahead by Babergh District Council more than two years ago and has been planned for 20 years.

Once the bridge is built and the walk completed, it will allow residents from Great Cornard to walk into Sudbury and even provide a route for commuters to the railway station.

It is being funded from a section 106 agreement worth £15,000 between the council and Barrett Homes, which developed the nearby housing estate Bakers Mill, and involves the acquisition of a strip of land from the Sudbury and District Angling Society as well as the River Stour Trust.

“It is moving on,” said Mr Newman who also serves on Great Cornard Parish Council. “There have been hold-ups but it’s a very complex issue and involves all sorts of land swaps and legal issues, but it’s definitely going ahead.

“I know the public might think there has been some dragging of heels and I can understand why – after all, this has been 20 years in the planning – but it’s not a straightforward issue.

“I know at one stage they couldn’t find someone on the board of trustees and Babergh got a private detective to seek him out and discovered he was dead.”

Mr Newman said the parish council had revised the original plans to move the footbridge further along the river and closer to Dove House Meadow. He added: “We want to get it right.”