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PLANS to improve access from Rogerstone’s Fourteen Locks Canal Centre to the canal towpath have been approved, despite concerns over a static bridge.

The plans include replacing an ‘over steep ramp from Cwm Lane onto the towpath to meet disability requirements, with a handrail provided on the pond side.

It also includes new cycle parking away from moving cars, replacing and widening two existing bridges, providing a new bridge crossing at the top lock and widening and resurfacing existing paths.

An additional bridge across the top lock will enable access around the entire pond as a circular walk, while also improving access from the towpath to the canal centre and its car park.

The plans also include upgrading areas around the canal centre for public use, with a community garden area planned.

However, concerns were raised over the new bridge because it could impact the reopening of the canal.

Cllr Jason Jordan said it would be “really inappropriate” to put a bridge there.

He said:

“Would it be cost-effective to have the swing bridge to have in place just in case to allow it to continue if the canal is to open back up.

However, the planning officer Stephen Williams said that it’s too late to backtrack on this because funding would not cover a swing bridge.

Mr Williams said he suggested to the applicant they can withdraw the element from the scheme and that it wasn’t ideal.

Cllr John Guy called for flexibility on the issue.

A condition has been imposed that the bridge will be demolished in three years so the council can reassess the situation.

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