Communities develop, economically, by means of communication. The
simple most important factor in economic activity since time began is
the ability for mankind to talk to whoever they are trading with.
Originally this meant rivers, roads, canals and railways, except that
things got in the way - rivers, roads, canals and railways each
forming a continuous barrier to the line of communication. The
solution - bridges.
And to this day, bridges are sill an important communication link.
This is the simple reason that the new bridge across the river
connecting Ipswich Village and the former Compair Reavell foundry is
essential, not only to the Fairview Homes 'Voyage' development to the
west but also to the Civic Quarter on the east bank. Fairview Homes
are building almost 400 housing units, mainly low rise grouped around
courtyards. Some are live-work units and 25% are 'affordable'. All are
within 500m of Ipswich railway station along Ranelagh Road.
The bridge spans 61m from the Fairview development on to West End
Road, hanging from a 35m high wishbone pylon with eight suspension
wires in four parallel pairs. The soffit of the bridge is some 5m
above sea level, which allows clearance for debris during the most
severe flood (expected by the Environment Agency to be 4.75m within 50
years) and 2.3m of clearance for inland waterways traffic during
normal spring tides. The Gipping still has a right of 'navigation'
although all of the locks have been removed.
Although the bridge was an essential condition of Fairview's planning
permission, obtaining the necessary landowners' consent was not easy.
At the time Compair Reavell owned the foundry, Ipswich Borough Council
the bed of the river (and therefore the rights overhead) and Suffolk
County Council the derelict land adjacent to West End Road. The bridge
is 3.7m wide to allow passage of cyclists and pedestrians and the
cycle route continues across the Fairview site to Ranelagh Road. It
was named the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge following an Evening Star