Harold Wood walkers ‘frustrated’ as ‘beyond repair’ bridge is closed

Harold Court Park users

Harold Court Park users are with Cllr Brian Eagling (second left) and Cllr Darren Wise (end right). - Credit: Cllr Eagling

A Harold Wood councillor is calling for a bridge used by walkers, runners and school children to be fixed after “months out of action”.  

Cllr Brian Eagling (Harold Wood, North Havering Residents' Group) said he has complained to Forestry England that the bridge connecting the Harold Court Woods to Pages Wood remains unfixed.  

He claimed residents, dog walkers, runners and school children normally use the bridge and people are “angry and frustrated” at the closure.  

A spokesperson for Forestry England, which cares for Harold and Pages woods, confirmed that Rainbow Bridge has been closed to the public since May 21.

However, there is a diversion which, although “inconvenient”, has been put in place.  

It directs visitors to a footbridge 110m away, which connects to an unsurfaced path between the woods. 

The initial bridge closure was intended to be temporary but a full structural inspection showed several safety concerns and the bridge was “beyond repair”.  

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A spokesperson said the bridge needs to be removed, and it remains permanently closed on health and safety grounds to protect the public from “serious injury”.  

However, Cllr Eagling said the damaged bridge is having an impact on the community and people who travel further afield to enjoy the area.

He is “very disappointed” by the way Forestry England has conducted its surveys, he added, and that this is a “bridge too far”.  

Forestry England said it is now discussing with neighbouring landowners the “best way forward” which will meet the needs of visitors.  

They said: “Permissions will be required from the Environment Agency to undertake work near a watercourse; however, the removal is now an urgent matter as the bridge and barrier fencing has attracted vandalism. 

“Once discussions with neighbouring landowners are complete, Forestry England will provide an update to the public of how we intend to proceed to maintain the connectivity between the two sites.” 

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