The tragic events in Evesham this week have caused shock and sorrow in the town.
The tragic events in Evesham this week have caused shock and sorrow in the town. The friends and family of all those involved demand our utmost sympathy and prayers.

I am sure you would want to join me in expressing our gratitude to all the emergency services who responded so quickly to the incident and worked so hard to try to save the lives of those involved. It was difficult and dangerous work and their professionalism is something we must never take for granted.

The Avon is source of both sadness and happiness Ė tragedies and floods are one side of the coin while the great regattas and river festivals are the other.

But now the Avon is posing another dilemma for Evesham Ė rebuilding the bridge and viaduct between Hampton and the town centre looks set to cause enormous disruption to local residents and traders for a very long period indeed.

There doesnít seem to be an easy answer. The rebuilding has to happen and it looks difficult to avoid complete closure of the bridge, at least to all vehicle traffic.

I canít help remembering that when something similar happened in Upton-on-Severn an alternative road was built and the traffic kept flowing.

If that isnít possible in Eveshamís case, then at least the county council must come up with a good traffic management plan to help people who need to get into the town. Local traders have had a difficult time recently, and closing one of the major access points to their shops will be a big blow to them. It will also make the hospital quite inaccessible to much of the town. And itís not going to be good for the new leisure centre either.

I look forward to seeing the countyís detailed proposals to minimise the chaos.

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