A NEW pedestrian bridge is to cross the Forth and Clyde Canal at Glasgow's growing artistic quarter.

City councillors are today expected to give the go-ahead to the new bridge, despite 37 objections from local people.

They are concerned about security and the impact of the new structure on wildlife.

In 2007, a development plan covering a 42 acre site was drawn up for the canal in a bid to turn it into a vibrant part of the city.

The aim of the masterplan is to create a mixed use area creating more jobs, an attractive residential environment and improved public realm.

In recent times, the area has developed into a cultural quarter with Scottish Opera, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, arts venue the Glue Factory and Glasgow Academy of Music and Theatre Arts all moving in.

In June this year, council planners approved plans for a five-storey block and 11-storey tower which will provide accommodation for 570 students.

The 100,000sq ft development, which will have 235 rooms, will be built just 60m south west of the new bridge.

A towpath cafe with outdoor seating will be provided and a sculpture garden created with Speirs Wharf Developments hoping the first residents will move in by September 2015.The bridge, which will have a span of about 20m will open for canal traffic and will be made up of two platforms, one of which will be able to slide back to allow vessels through.

Richard Brown, the council's executive development and regeneration director, said: "While the canal is an excellent amenity, it also forms a barrier between communities on either side of the canal.

"The proposed bridge would deliver an east/west connection between Speirs Locks and adjacent neighbourhoods of north Glasgow and open up pedestrian and cycle connections to the city centre."

The Forth and Clyde Canal is a scheduled historic monument, the nearby Wheatsheaf building is category C listed and Speirs Wharf to the east of the canal is B listed.

Mr Brown said the bridge will be built on the footings of a Second World War lock which was built to prevent the area from flooding if the canal was hit by a German bomb.

He added: "The proposed design of the bridge is contemporary and uses a palate of high quality durable materials.

"The proposal is considered a low key intervention which is sympathetic to its sensitive historic setting and does not detract from the character of the canal or the nearby listed buildings."

However residents of Speirs Wharf said they were unhappy that the bridge would lead directly to their properties and as a result, a security fence with a locked gate will be erected.

They were also concerned about the impact of the new bridge on local wildlife including nesting swans.

But Mr Brown said care would be taken to ensure lighting on the bridge did not affect nocturnal animals and that building work did not disturb swans during the nesting season.

Katie Hughes, director of estates and commerce at Scottish Canals, said: "The proposal for a new footbridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal is an integral part of our plans for the wider regeneration of the North Glasgow area."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk