FOLLOWING the announcement of plans to build a bridge that increases access between Chippenham train station and the town centre, stakeholders across the town have responded positively to the news.

The bridge, costing £3m, would span the River Avon between Monkton Park Wiltshire Council offices to Island Park.

Wiltshire Council put in an application to Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership who have said the project can go ahead if there is enough support from the town.

Kathryn Crosweller, manager of Chippenham BID, said: "Chippenham is a town with a huge amount of potential. We can already see the old meeting the new, and a rich tapestry of different styles of buildings around the town. Any new investment is a positive step, and anything which will draw people to the town because it is interesting, quirky or unique would be an asset to Chippenham."

Cllr Bill Douglas, who serves the Hardens and England ward, added that members of the public he has spoken to about the project have supported plans.

He said: "I warmly welcome this project.

"If the design is right, if it is light and airy, the bridge could become a real characteristic feature for Chippenham. Views of the sunset from the bridge will also be magnificent."

Cllr Nick Murry, who serves Monkton ward said: "“The bridge could better connect the Town Centre with Chippenham Station and areas to the north such as Langley Park, and would encourage people to walk and cycle into town, rather than use their cars.

"However, much will depend on the route, design and how it integrates with River Island and the surrounding area."

However, some people have gone to Facebook to slam the plans. Amanda Wood-Woolley said: "What’s wrong with the bridge already there? Would the money not be better spent updating or creating better facilities around the riverside to draw more people into the area?"

David Choonage said: "What a waste of money, there's already a footbridge, why do you need another? Pretty sure there's better ways to spend 3 mil."

Robin Langford, who is asset manager for Eagle One who owns Emery Gate shopping centre, said: "We sent in a letter of support because we think the project will benefit the town.

"I think the bridge will help people find their way to the town centre far easier, as well as making the area look even nicer."

The proposal is still yet to feature in Chippenham Town Council meetings and Wiltshire Council are planning to consult members of the public and business owners before acting.