LIVES are being put at risk because of a delay in building a footbridge to connect a major housing development to a leading supermarket.

Cotswold District councillor Clive Bennett branded the delay in building the footbridge connecting homes on the new Kingshill South development to nearby Tesco as "absolutely crazy" as new home owners have to cross the busy A419 dual carriageway.

Houses on the development have already begun selling but work on the footbridge has not started.

Cllr Bennett said planners had slipped up by agreeing a section 106 planning deal that Gloucestershire County Council should award the contract to build the bridge before 200 homes are occupied.

He believes the facility should have been in place before the first home was sold as residents have no option but to risk crossing the dual carriageway.

"I know some are walking straight across the roundabout," he said. "They are taking their lives in their hands.

"This 200-houses occupancy rule may be on the planning consent but in my view it is a completely stupid way to go about things."

Neil Troughton, highways development control manager at GCC, said the bridge would be installed "well before the 200th occupation".

"There is no need for the 200th house to be occupied before work starts," he added. "It is simply written in the section 106 agreement that we should award the contract before the 200th occupation for the developer’s £608,000 contribution to be released."

Mr Troughton said construction would start in October and be completed by March 2012. It will be paid for by Tesco and developers Berkeley Homes with GCC managing its design and construction.

But Cllr Bennett warned that still left residents will having to "take their chances with the traffic" through the dark winter months.

"That will be highly dangerous and it could have so easily been avoided," he added.

"Planning should not play games with peoples’ lives. This bridge should have been built this year, forget about how many houses are occupied, lives are at stake here."