Ebbsfleet Garden City is to get a new bridge and improved walkways as part of a package of improvements to connect local communities.

£3.4 million will be spent over the next two years improving pedestrian and cycle links around Northfleet and will include:

• Replacing the existing pedestrian bridge at Church Path Pit
• Improving the path  from Granby Road to the riverside
• A series of improvements and new routes being created from Northfleet to Ebbsfleet International Station.

One of the first projects will involve the Granby Road route to the riverside which is currently overgrown, suffers with severe litter problems and is deemed as a no-go area by locals.

The route will be resurfaced and improved with lighting, creating a safe walk for residents down to the riverside but also as a route for people who work on the industrial areas around Crete Hall Road to walk to work from Northfleet.

The Church Path Pit bridge, which stands about 60ft from the ground,  is a vital link for residents from The Seven Avenues to Northfleet High Street.

Proposals include replacing the current caged structure with a modern, wider bridge which Ebbsfleet Development Corporation will seek the public’s ideas for design.

Paul Spooner, Interim Chief Executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “A well-connected Garden City is vital to its success and with our programme of improvements, approved by Government, we will start to see the real signs of how we will connect existing and new communities.

“These  projects will ensure Northfleet residents not only have safer, more attractive routes to walk, but also give them direct access to Ebbsfleet International Station and the rest of the Garden City.”

No Walls Gardens, a community interest company in Northfleet, has already had volunteers  improving the routes either side of the bridge.

Director Gary May said: “We’ve been working very closely with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation since it was set up and we’re pleased that Northfleet and in particular, the Church Path Pit bridge, will now see some enormous benefits.

“That bridge is a lifeline to many but in its current state can be a daunting experience for local people. To have  it replaced will be fantastic and for the community to have their say on how it could look is an added bonus.”

The bridge is the second to be approved for the area.

In July a £12million pedestrian and vehicle bridge was approved linking Springhead Park with Ebbsfleet International Station.

A new primary school in Eastern Quarry, approved in March, is currently under construction and will open to pupils in September 2017.

There are currently seven developers on site creating 860 homes across the Garden City including at Ebbsfleet Green where Redrow is building 180 new homes and has a showhome open and at Springhead Park where Countryside has returned for the first time in four years to build 123 homes.

Keepmoat recently announced plans for up to 700 new homes at Northfleet Embankment East with a planning application expected before the end of the year.

Picture: David Glasspool / www.kentrail.org.uk