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Anger Over Closure of Rail Bridge in Bridlington

Anger Over Closure of Rail Bridge in Bridlington

Published by Jon Burke at 6:31am 5th February 2020. (Updated at 9:11am 5th February 2020)

There's been reaction to the decision not to re-open Bessingby Rail Bridge in Bridlington.

That was taken by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, after the bridge was closed, due to safety concerns, at the end of 2017.

Councillor Tim Norman wants that decision overturned.

He said:

"The decision taken by East Riding of Yorkshire Council will affect many people who live in the Bridlington South area and reduce connectivity between the Hilderthorpe areas of Bridlington and Bessingby and West Hill.

The two areas of Bridlington South were connected by a footbridge over the railway lines for 40 plus years. In December 2017, a review of the safety of this bridge concluded that it was no longer fit for purpose and was unsafe. Subsequently, in December 2018, it was dismantled and removed.

Since that time, many residents and Councillors have been asking when the project to reinstate the Bridge would commence. In early 2019, a scheme made it to the Planning Committee stage, however, this was withdrawn because it was not up to the modern demands of being wheelchair and disabled friendly - and so it stayed so until recently.

Since the election in May 2019, myself and and Councillor Andy Walker have been on at the Council to come up with the workable solution and move the plans forward once again. The decision has been put back on a number of occasions, as month followed month and the promise of a decision passed fruitless, as more and more studies being were carried out. Finally, in January 2020 another scheme made its way to a capital review assessment board.

However, in the words of The Director of Communities and Environment, "This is not the decision you were hoping for". The decision has been made not to replace the Bridge.

In Bridlington South, there are many people who over the years have used this bridge on a very regular basis, whether to get to work easily or to go to school over the railway. Many people will be disappointed with this blatantly cost / benefit driven decision. The Director has even stated that it would be competing against projects which have already been started and were part of the original expenditure in the Bridlington Town Centre Area Action Plan and therefore was already committed.

This Bridge has for over 40 years been a great asset for the people of Bridlington and it would appear that, because the Bridge has not been properly maintained over its life, it is an asset which will no longer exist.

The Director does state that the footpaths will be upgraded along Kingsgate and Bessingby Road to make life easier to walk the extra distance. This cannot escape from the apparent fact that the Cost / Benefit analysis is weighed too heavily in favour of the Cost rather than the tangible benefit of making the residents of Bridlington a priority.

The fight is not over, we continue to question this decision and to look for ways to overturn the result. We have been dealt a body blow in the continuing saga of the Bessingby Bridge but we are not giving up."

A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said:

"A routine inspection by engineers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council carried out in December 2017 found significant signs of wear and tear with the structure of the Bessingby railway footbridge in Bridlington. 

Following that inspection, the council had no option but to shut the bridge to pedestrians for safety reasons, and it was dismantled and removed in December 2018. 

Pedestrians who used the bridge were directed to use the footpaths along the main routes of Kingsgate and Bessingby Road instead. 

A planning application to replace the bridge was submitted in early 2019, however this was withdrawn following concerns over the form of the bridge to assist people with a disability and about whether it would offer value for money. 

A number of options have been explored by the council, including replacing the bridge with a like-for-like structure, replacing the bridge with added disabled access ramps, and even the creation of an underpass. 

However, following careful considerations, the council has now decided not to progress with a replacement for this bridge. 

These considerations took into account the large public costs of providing a replacement ramped footbridge, the alternative route already available to pedestrians, and the time the bridge has been out of use (two years). 

Instead the council will look to upgrade the alternative route along the footpaths of Kingsgate and Bessingby Road, including installing dropped crossings at some junctions which don’t already have them." 

 

 

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