Anger at Hackney Marsh bridge traffic plans

Residents fear their Sunday morning peace will be shattered by noise from footballers’ cars because of council plans to reintroduce traffic on a bridge over the River Lea.

As part of the Olympics legacy the council is replacing Cow Bridge linking part of Lower Clapton to Hackney Marshes, the hallowed home of amateur soccer.

The existing bridge was formerly used by footballers to gain access to a car park and changing rooms on the north marsh, but has been closed since 2004 when the 1950s structure was deemed unsafe.

The bridge at the junction with Mandeville Street and Millfields Road is popular with walkers and cyclists as a handy shortcut.

New football changing rooms have been built as part of promised improved facilities as compensation for the East Marsh being concreted over and turned into a coach park for the 2012 Olympics.

However, opponents say it’s a retrograde step and conflicts with Hackney Council’s sustainable transport policies, which aim to reduce car dependency.

They are also angry at plans to increase the size of the current 54-space car park on the marsh and at the temporary closure of towpaths on both river banks for three months from September to December while bridge works are carried out.

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Campaigner Katy Andrews, who uses the bridge regularly, said the temporary closure will add another couple of miles to her journey. “Local people are absolutely livid about it,” she said. “They don’t want a large car park there and this is what’s causing the ruckus.”

A council spokeswoman said that any additional traffic in the area as a result of the developments is expected to be minimal and not disruptive to local residents.