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Village bridge shows the way for urban watercourses

ICE DEPUTY director of engineering Robert Huxford has taken the campaign for more use of urban watercourses into his own backyard. He and fellow villagers in Hollingbourne, Kent, planned, commissioned and oversaw the building of a bridge over the village stream and preparation of a neighbouring green as a public space for the villagers.

The bridge was opened at Christmas by NCE 's deputy news editor Damian Arnold.

The three year project included four months of works to bridge the stream with a structure made from locally quarried ragstone. It is hoped that the bridge will bring the stream into the heart of the village and enable people to enjoy local birds such as kingfishers, herons and grey wagtails.

'Streams and rivers provide the setting for some of the most attractive spots on the planet, yet as most UK towns and villages have developed they have literally turned their backs on their watercourses, ' said Huxford.

'The Institution of Civil Engineers has been campaigning for the greater use of local streams and rivers. The Hollingbourne Millennium Green scheme is directly related to that. Now thanks to work by the local community allied to professional engineering expertise, the bourne is once more a central part of Hollingbourne.'

The bridge, designed by Peter Back Associates based in Maidstone, was built over gault clay. It has a steel reinforced concrete slab with a 17t capacity designed to minimise sideways thrust.

The bridge connects the village high street to a 1ha green which boasts a new footpath, 500 sapling trees and a pond.

The £35,000 scheme was 50% funded by the Countryside Agency and grants from the Rail Link Countryside Initiative run by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Maidstone Borough Council and Hollingbourne Parish Council.

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