The construction of a £5 million bridge over the A5 has been given the green light in another major step forward for the long-awaited Oswestry Innovation Park.

The new 59-metre pedestrian and cycle bridge will link Shrewsbury Road and the business park site near Mile End Roundabout.

It will be built over a new arm of the A5/A483 to the north of the new, smaller, island being constructed as part of a redesign of the Mile End junction, which will see the northern arm off the existing roundabout closed off.

The design of the bridge has come under fire from active travel advocates, but Shropshire Council officers have now approved the plans saying the scheme will have a “positive impact in relation to promoting cycling and walking”.

Oswestry Town Council raised concerns over the design, saying it contravened government guidance on new cycle infrastructure contained in Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20 – which Shropshire Council voted in September last year to adopt.

The bridge design includes ramps either side at a five per cent gradient, with a total of four 180-degree turns, requires cyclists to dismount, and does not provide segregated spaces for walkers and cyclists.

The town council said alternatives such as an underpass should be looked at first, and requested the bridge be re-designed if that option was progressed with.

The town council statement said: “The design is contrary to Shropshire Council’s adopted policy and standards as laid out in LTN 1/20.

“The bridge ramps double back twice, meaning that cyclists would have to dismount, and the plans take no account of other non-standard bikes such as those adapted for the disabled or to carry cargo or passengers or e-bicycles.

“Pedestrians and cyclists should not be mixed, this solution works for neither.”

These concerns were echoed in objections lodged by four members of the public, Sustainable Transport Shropshire and Oswestry mayor Duncan Kerr.

Councillor Kerr said: “Whilst it is admirable that Shropshire Council are now proposing a sustainable transport link between the new industrial estate and the town, the fact that this is clearly an after thought means that the design is so unsuitable and contrary to the guidance recently adopted by the council as to defeat the very objectives.

“The breaches of the guidance… are very serious matters which risk making this significant investment in public resources redundant.”

Oswestry Rural Parish Council and Oswestry Ramblers expressed support for the plans, and no objections were raised by statutory consultees including Highways England and the council’s own highways department.

A report by planning officer Philip Mullineux said: “Concerns and issues as commented upon by Oswestry Town Council, members of the public and the support of Oswestry Rural Parish Council are noted.

“It is considered that the application overall adequately address cycleway and pedestrian access.

“Obviously in consideration of the location and the busy public highway, a foot and cycle bridge in relation to future economic growth and connectivity to the wider countryside beyond is desirable.

“However visual impact is a concern and especially with regards to external colour. It is considered this matter can be adequately addressed via the attachment of a suitably worded condition to any approval notice issued.

“On balance this application is considered acceptable and will contribute towards future sustainable housing and economic growth in the Oswestry area and thus is considered necessary and welcome in relation to satisfactory infrastructure development and the overall aims of sustainable development.”

A planning application for the £45 million innovation park, which could include a hotel, food and drink operators and a mix of commercial units, is expected to be submitted next month.