“THREATENING” vandalised footbridges across a busy main road are barriers to economic growth, it has been claimed.

The two distinctive red footbridges across the A12 road in Leytonstone have been blighted by vandalism and muggers and act as a deterrent to people who may want to move more freely between their homes and local businesses, councillor Ed Northover says.

The Leytonstone resident is now calling for the footbridges, which link Church Lane and Harold Road and Dyers Hall Road and Norman Road, to be cleaned up and improved.

He says residents claim they feel unsafe using the bridges and insists improvements to their lighting and structure would turn them into an asset rather than a “psychological barrier”.

“The foot bridges are in an appalling state,” he said.

“My feeling has been for some time that the A12 has acted as a barrier for people wanting to get around Leytonstone, and the bridges are neither safe nor pleasant to use.

“I would like to see some investment put into them.

“They are quite threatening to people and there are blind spots - you cannot see who is hanging about on them.

Urban Eye, a charity which helps rejuvenate run down and neglected areas in London, is working with Transport for London in an attempt to secure funding for the project.

But they need backing from Waltham Forest Council before it can go ahead.

One resident says she is worried that the police are re-evaluating whether the bridges should be accessed at all.

Michele Sweetman, 55, of Norlington Road, said that if the bridges were improved, more people would use shops in Leytonstone town centre.

She added: “I think they can be a great asset to Leytonstone if they are given some attention.

“They are very narrow and hard to see out of and they are very intimidating to use at night.

“At the moment, I just want to avoid them. They are seriously dangerous places and some funding would make a huge difference in the numbers that use them.”

Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter