Campaigners' success: 'Condemned' Harold Wood bridge to be replaced

Harold Wood Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge will be replaced at some point in the new year. - Credit: Brian Eagling

Campaigners have successfully saved a bridge in Harold Wood after they garnered hundreds of signatures on a petition. 

A motion to fix the bridge connecting Harold Court Woods to Pages Wood has been accepted by Havering Council.   

The Rainbow Bridge, which is the responsibility of the Forestry England, has been closed to the public since May 21.

A Forestry England spokesperson said it was “condemned” on “safety grounds following a routine inspection which identified riverbank erosion, damage to bank seats by flooding, and fire damage to beams understood to be the result of anti-social behaviour”. 

In the council meeting on November 17, Havering’s mayor John Mylod announced he had received the petition in a motion from Cllr Darren Wise.  

The online petition by the Harold Wood councillors and the Friends of Harold Wood Park has now closed, but reached a total of around 730 signatures.  

Forestry England’s spokesperson said it will now work with the council’s parks team to pursue “design options for the replacement of the Rainbow Bridge at Pages Wood, alongside alternative connection options”. 

Harold Wood councillor Brian Eagling said the issue affects people from “all over the borough”.  

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But he commented that he was “disappointed” to not receive the support of the Havering Resident’s Association (HRA), who did not vote for the motion to go through.  

Leader of HRA, Cllr Ray Morgon, said the group did not vote for the motion and instead took a “neutral stance” because they felt it needed to be “more precise”.  

He added that the group will support motions which clearly outline the alternatives and match their views. 

Forestry England’s spokesperson said the bridge will now be “safely removed” once permission is secured, which it hopes will be in the new year.  

They said: “We are currently working on designs for a new bridge to support applications for planning permission, permission from the Environment Agency and funding. 

"Our thanks to local MPs, councillors, and local people who have shared their support for this bridge, the need for green space, and the importance of connectivity going forward between Pages Wood and Harold Park Woods.” 

Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for environment at Havering Council, said: "The council has been working with the Forestry Commission to ensure residents using the area have adequate access all year round, and will be meeting with them soon to discuss potential replacement of the bridge and further improvements to the pathways."

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