KIT Malthouse MP has joined a conservation group to formally open a new bridge in Whitchurch.

The MP for North West Hampshire joined Whitchurch Conservation Group and other residents to open the new bridge at Town Mill.

The conservation group funded the cost of the bridge, which came to £26,412, as part of its Test and Loddon Leader rural tourism grant.

Mr Malthouse said: “We now have a new bridge in Whitchurch and I was delighted to formally open it.

READ MORE: Delight as Whitchurch in Bloom receives top award at grand gardening competition

“It will particularly benefit local people with disabilities and mobility issues — they will now be able to travel over the river safely into town, rather than taking their chances along the busy road.

“A huge thank you in particular to the Whitchurch Conservation Group who've funded and have worked round the clock in making it happen.

“I look forward to working with the team, along with the Environment Agency and Natural England, to make sure we do everything we can to protect our precious River Test; specifically by measuring phosphate and other nutrient pollution levels regularly.”

Chair of Whitchurch Conservation Group Lucie Follett said: “Kit’s help has been absolutely invaluable in helping us move forward and blast through the knotty bureaucracy.

“Going forward, Hampshire County Council will now formally look to adopt the bridge, and we very much hope to work with Kit on the important mission of protecting our precious River Test chalkstream.”

Local resident Colin Fisher McAllum, who uses a wheelchair, said that he is “very happy” with the new bridge.

SEE ALSO: Rotary club hoping to cast a spell with special Harry Potter-themed evening

He continued: “For the first time in what must be four years I crossed the bridge. The new tarmac path is the icing on the cake.

“The slope is gentle enough to manage in a manual wheelchair and the extra width makes the approach safer. 

“This will make my trips to town so much easier and safer. I also have access to Town Mill bridge and the footpaths beyond.”