Controversy rages at bridge name choices

Adur chairman Mike Mendoza was one of the first non-construction staff to cross the new bridge

Adur chairman Mike Mendoza was one of the first non-construction staff to cross the new bridge

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CONTROVERSY is raging over the naming of the new Shoreham footbridge, and MP Tim Loughton has been asked to step in.

But Mr Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said there is nothing he could do.

He said he had been receiving a lot of emails from constituents who had been concerned about the naming process, with some believing that a final choice had already been made.

He had also been contacted by constituents calling for the bridge specifically to be named after Harry Elmer, a Shoreham ferryman, following a campaign on Facebook.

“There also seems to have been a lot of misinformation about the actual bridge naming process, including some people claiming the name plaque has already been ordered,” he added.

One of the Harry Elmer campaigners, Paul Collins, of Hillrise Avenue, Sompting, said: “A lot of local people are not happy with the way this was put forward.”

He felt the name had already be decided long before local people had the chance to have their say.

But Mr Loughton pointed out people had been given a chance to put names forward to the panel and some 103 different names were submitted.

“You will appreciate, therefore, that if a local name was chosen, then there would be a likely outcry from a great many other supporters of alternative candidates,” he added.

“In the event, it was decided, therefore, to put forward five names which did not involve an individual, other than references to the Queen, which had in any case already been formally nominated at an Adur Council meeting as the preference of local councillors.”

The shortlisted names are:

l Adur Ferry Bridge

l Coronation Bridge

l The De Haura Bridge

l The Jubilee Bridge

l The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Bridge

Mr Loughton added: “I am not in a position to overturn the proposals of the steering group who have been heavily involved with the whole saga of the new bridge over many months, but I hope you appreciate how this has come about.

“We all acknowledged that it was never going to be an easy task to come up with a name and inevitably many people will be disappointed whatever the final choice.”

He was pleased the final decision would be by public vote, and urging everyone to participate. Visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and type “Shoreham footbridge naming” into the search bar. The deadline is June 16.