Friday, 16 September 2016

Bring Back Our Blue Bridge!

UPDATE: 11 October 2016. Peterborough City Council responds as follows: ‘The reason for using green is to try and standardise colours to help with covering graffiti (one tin of green paint can be used on numerous bridges).  Also, grime and surface mould from trees etc. tend to stand out less on a green background’.

So, sadly, it would seem our beloved blue bridge is green for good. While I know we'll all get used to it, what a shame Peterborough City Council didn't speak to residents before taking this decision.

Who would have thought the colour of the railings on a Peterborough footbridge would mean so much to so many local residents.

Peterborough City Council's decision to re-paint a bridge, known locally for decades 'The Blue Bridge' during safety improvement works has caused uproar.

The Blue Bridge when it was blue
The Blue Bridge (when it was blue)

Spanning Oundle Road (also known as the A605), The Blue Bridge, provides pedestrian access between Orton Brimbles and Orton Wistow.

But The Blue Bridge is no more. For reasons yet unknown, Peterborough City Council has painted the footbridge GREEN.

While I'm all for a bit of green, this is The Blue Bridge and local people will continue to call it The Blue Bridge whatever colour the City Council paints it.

Some residents are so annoyed by the colour change they have started a poll on Facebook to find out how other local people feel. The result is overwhelmingly in favour of turning The Blue Bridge blue again!

A poll on Facebook shows most people want The Blue Bridge to be blue again

At time of writing, 48 residents (plus me!) are in favour of painting the bridge blue again. Three people are happy for it to remain green, one person prefers pink and one person has another idea altogether.

Who knew the colour of a footbridge would matter to so many people?  Well, Peterborough City Council should have known for a start. Established communities often use colloquialisms to describe local landmarks. In London, this is very common. The Department of Health building in Whitehall is known as The Toaster (because it is shaped like a toaster). The Leadenhall Building is The Cheesegrater. 20 Fenchurch Street is the Walkie Talkie. And in Peteborough, the bridge over Oundle Road that connects Orton Brimbles to Orton Wistow is The Blue Bridge!

30 St Mary Axe is London is known as The Gherkin because of its shape.

Communities should decide what local landmarks are called, and if a local landmark is so-called specifically because of the colour it has been painted, the City Council ought to be sensitive to residents' wishes (or at least provide an explanation for the colour change). We don't like messy graffiti in Orton, but we don't like this kind of cultural vandalism either!

"I'll meet you by The Blue Bridge" and "You get there via The Blue Bridge" are turns of phrase oft-heard in Orton. If the City Council was sensitive to the community here, it would have known that turning The Blue Bridge green was likely to lead to frustration.

The next time it's due a lick of paint here's hoping Peterborough City Council listens to residents' pleas and turns The Blue Bridge blue again!

Location of The Blue Bridge on a map
Location of the beloved Blue Bridge


  1. It is all very well painting it green, but the council's words on "grime and surface mould from trees etc. tend to stand out less on a green background" suggests that whatever colour they've just painted it it could well end up a splotchy dingy or grunge tone. I'm not local to the Ortons, but if that does happen, I'd want a nice fresh blue back again. Blue after all, goes well against the sky, which was probably the original idea.

  2. Hi Fiona, indeed it could. I was sorry the council did not acknowledge the community aspect. People don't have many community assets to be proud of in this part of Orton and it's a shame the council, which is supposed to be in touch with local people's feelings, didn't consult before it went ahead.