AFTER reading of the recent decision to repair the viaduct that crosses the water meadow in St Ives, and to spend several ­million pounds in so doing, I was interested in what is going to be preserved. Here we have a unique architectural identity which provides an elevated grandstand for wonderful views across the meadows and the river.

AFTER reading of the recent decision to repair the viaduct that crosses the water meadow in St Ives, and to spend several ­million pounds in so doing, I was interested in what is going to be preserved.

Here we have a unique architectural identity which provides an elevated grandstand for wonderful views across the meadows and the river.

Recently on a very sunny day when the town was crowded, I was surprised to see that I, in fact, was the only ­pedestrian on the viaduct which seemed bizarre.

Does no one use the viaduct to walk or even cycle into the town?

Since the creation of the bypass the ­viaduct has become a backwater littered with parked cars and yellow lines and because of the restrictions on the bridge, the only traffic is to the residential area around the mill and the Dolphin Hotel.

Here we have an isolated stretch of road which has all of the features of an elevated seaside promenade.

If the road users were provided with alternative access, this would allow for the pedestrianisation of the entire ­viaduct and allow it to become a ­tourist attraction.

Start by getting rid of the parked cars, remove the yellow lines and the tarmac and provide a more up-market walking surface suitable for a ­promenade.

You will also need to embellish it by providing some quality street ­architectural light fittings and then to soften the whole structure by judicious use of plants and foliage.

This conversion would form part of a wider scheme.

Apart from the occasional repair to the old bridge no one has brought ­forward a scheme of how this mundane structure can be brought up-to-date by means of ­sympathetic ­accoutrements such as ­lighting standards or glass panels.

Such a scheme would possibly allow it to become the Crystal Bridge rather than a simple medieval structure.

Moving into Bridge Street we are faced with a jumble of architectural designs of various styles and eras. However, the road itself has potential.

What you need is a metal framed glass structure mounted in the complete length of the Bridge Street roadway and abutted onto the existing shops.

Inside the structure would be a ­mezzanine floor which would allow access to the upper stories of the shops and provide an all-weather area to be utilised by cafes.

Currently, the council has put forward a scheme to change the parking arrangements in Market Hill and, although worthy, it will be unlikely to interest the readers of the Shangai Daily Post. However, my suggestion would provide a uniquely identifiable brand identity for St Ives that would tap into the world's biggest industry of tourism.

JOHN WILKINS

Loftsteads

Somersham