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Bridge over the River Asker officially open
THE revamped Asker Meadows featured on the highlights of Bridport’s Civic Day today with the official opening of the new bridge there.
Bridport Mayor Councillor Dave Rickard welcomed mayors and civic dignitaries from across Dorset giving him the chance to show off the town and its success stories.
The Civic Day included tours of the leisure centre, Amsafe and Palmers Brewery for other county mayors and officials from Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council DCC, the Environment Agency, AONB and Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Coun Rickard said: “It has allowed a lot more access for a lot more people which is what we set out to do.”
“It is a bit raw at the moment and one or two people have said it is looking a bit urban but all new works do until they bed in. Come back in a year’s time and it will look quite different.”
He said the project had been on the town plan had when the funding and opportunity arose officers could just get on with the it.
Coun Rickard added: “We knew one day we would do it and the circumstances arrived and we took the opportunity to jump in and get on with it.
“So many agencies came together to help us, linking it with the conservation and environmental work and opening up the meadows and having proper grazing.
“It is still a work in progress obviously.”
One of the visiting dignitaries was the Mayor of Bournemouth Philip Stanley-Watts who said he would love to have something similar in his area.
“It is fantastic,” he said.
Town surveyor Daryl Chambers has been instrumental in the Asker Meadows project that gave new life into the green space just outside the town centre.
The project has included new cycle paths, a wildlife haven and a footbridge linking into the nearby New Zealand area.
Mr Chambers said the spot will be one of the best green spaces in any town in Dorset thanks to the project that has barely taken a year to complete from start to finish.
The local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) group gave the scheme the thumbs up and a £1500 grant.
Work on the 20-acre site included hedge laying, dry stone walls, as well as the planting of 400 trees from the Woodland Trust.
A new all-weather footpath across the meadows gives access for walkers and cyclists.
It is planned that the cycle route will eventually link Maiden Newton with West Bay.
The paths and bridge will allow people from the east of Bridport to get into the town centre without using a car.
The town will ensure grazing is controlled and will control the fishing rights to the river.