Scheme developments from 2013
Prior to the York's Bridge replacement scheme consulted on in 2019, an earlier scheme was developed in 2012. On 23 January 2013, Walsall Council cabinet approved that the scheme move from the design stages into consultation and delivery. A number of steps were required to be taken before any construction could start, the key outcomes of which are as follows:
1. Scheme consultation
Consultation on the scheme was carried out during March and April 2013 based on the proposals set out in the previous consultation booklet. Although generally supportive of the need for a new bridge, the strength of views relating to the positioning of the new structure meant that officers decided to review the original proposal and draw up an alternative which positioned the bridge further to the west.
After careful consideration and assessment of both options from local residents, the wider public and the business community a report was taken back to cabinet on 24 July 2013. The outcome was that cabinet approved that the bridge be kept in the position originally proposed in the consultation.
2. Deregistration of common land
As part of the scheme is to be built on registered common land, the council had to apply to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate for the affected parts of the common to be deregistered. An area of exchange land had to be provided to mitigate this loss of registered common. Land at Moat Farm pool was identified early in the development of the scheme together with a strip of land to the east of Norton Road, south of the canal. These application documents were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in October 2014.
3. Outcome of the deregistration application
The application made in October 2014 to deregister common land was refused in May 2015 for two reasons:
a) that the registration of the replacement land, offered as common land, would not especially benefit the community as there was already unrestricted public access to it
b) there was no legal process in place to “temporarily” deregister common land and as such the entire amount of land had to be considered as if it were to be permanently deregistered.
The Planning Inspectorate’s decision can be viewed in the Pelsall Common, Section 16 PDF.