IT WAS branded as obtrusive, yet the design for a hi-tech bridge linking the old town walls was given the go-ahead and has become a popular landmark to all those familiar with Southampton.

Back in 1987 when plans for a new ultra-modern cantilever bridge linking the old town walls of Southampton were revealed, not everyone was happy with the design.

The flamboyant and state-of-the-art scheme was blasted as “obtrusive and unbalanced” by the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Commission which wanted an elegant suspension bridge.

Once the building started and the large support poles were erected, public reaction to the giant bridge ranged from “Hideous!” to “It’s an act of vandalism”.

The bridge was officially opened in December 1988 by councillor Brian Roost, who was chairman of the city council’s historic buildings committee.

Just eight months later, the bridge was forced to close for three weeks, as the span and steps to the bridge needed to be resurfaced.

By 1991, not only had Southampton residents grown accustomed to the bridge, but it had scooped an award in recognition of its merit and contribution to the city.

Chairman of the judges, architect Richard Baker said: “It’s one of Southampton’s success stories.”