Tesco and Network Rail row over Welwyn Garden City bridge

A TIT-FOR-TAT row has broken out between Tesco and Network Rail as work to improve a footbridge grinds to a halt.

The notorious bridge, which joins Hyde Way to the Howard Centre in WGC, needs extra props installed so restrictive temporary barriers can finally be removed.

An agreement forged by ward councillor Malcolm Cowan had meant work was due to start, but Tesco, which owns some of the land on which the bridge stands, has withdrawn its permission and asked Network Rail’s sub-contractors to leave the site.

Cllr Cowan said: “It’s frustrating to have got so far, persuading both Network Rail and Tesco to co-operate, and then see work stopped. I’ve had no explanation from Tesco for this change of mind. The work was not costing them anything – Network Rail, which owns the bridge but not all the land the bridge sits on – were paying.”

A Tesco spokesman explained they had withdrawn permission for Network Rail to use the land as the rail firm would not commit to allowing Tesco use of its land for future bridge revamps.

However, the spokesman added: “We remain fully committed to helping Network Rail improve the bridge. We are waiting to hear back from Network Rail.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Work to strengthen the footbridge has been suspended to enable discussions with Tesco regarding the best long-term solution.”