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York's Bridge

York’s Bridge replacement scheme

Public consultation on the York's Bridge replacement scheme closed 5 April 2019.

Responses have been collated and analysed to inform the formal planning application which will be submitted in summer 2019.

Consultation summary of results 

The full York’s Bridge Consultation 2019 Summary of Results report is available to read here, along with feedback on the main issues raised in the consultation and some clarification on particular aspects of the proposed scheme.

Overview

Walsall Council is seeking to replace the existing York’s Bridge on Norton Road in Pelsall, which spans the Wyrley and Essington Canal by the Fingerpost public house. As part of this process the council sought to hear the views of local residents, business owners, commuters and other interested parties about the proposed scheme.
 

Public consultation was held from 4 February to 5 April 2019. While local residents and businesses were sent a consultation pack in the post, this consultation was open to all interested parties and everyone was invited to have their say. Responses have been collated and analysed to inform the formal planning application which will be submitted in July 2019. Details about the consultation are below.  Detailed plans and supporting information regarding the scheme is also available below.  

Background

The existing York’s Bridge dates back to the mid-1800s. Its brick-arch construction, poor alignments and lack of footways make it unsuitable for modern traffic and unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge structure has suffered over recent decades and the bridge is currently the subject of a 7.5 tonne weight limit — well below the national requirement of 44 tonnes. If no action is taken the bridge will continue to weaken to the point where closure to all road traffic might have to be considered.

The bridge is owned by the Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) however, they do not have the financial resources to deal with the problem. Indeed, their only obligation is to maintain a bridge over the canal; they are not obliged to ensure it is suitable for the traffic requirements of the road.

The council has a statutory duty to maintain the safe and efficient operation of the public highway for use by a range of vehicles. In order to discharge this duty, the council is obliged to look at options including the strengthening of bridges — whether owned by the council or not — or the construction of new bridges if the original structures cannot be strengthened. Failure to undertake these options appraisals and deliver suitable solutions may result in the Department for Transport taking over this responsibility from the council.

Scheme development

Options to strengthen the existing bridge have been considered extensively however, unfortunately, these options have had to be discounted as they could not ensure the bridge would conform to current design standards or address the issues associated with poor carriageway alignment. As such, a new bridge is the only solution that will address the current problems associated with the existing bridge.

Early proposals included an option to build the new bridge on roughly the same alignment as the existing. There were a number of practical problems with this, including the need to close Norton Road for up to 18 months during construction. Initial feedback from the Pelsall area and from ward councilors also showed a strong desire to retain the existing bridge and this led to a rethink of the proposals.

The current scheme proposal is to construct a new bridge as close as possible to the existing. This means that the historic bridge can be retained but will also mean that Norton Road has to be realigned to meet the new bridge position.

York's Bridge Photo

Visualisation of the new bridge looking from the north-west

Designs of the new bridge and highway are required to meet various national standards. A footway will be provided over the new bridge to improve pedestrian safety and the gradients of the road on the approaches to the bridge are less steep than existing to remove the ‘hump’ effect. These more gradual gradients mean that the road levels either side of the new bridge will be higher than those on the current road alignment as the road flattens out again in each direction. Designers have taken necessary measures to reduce the impact of this without making the new road unsafe.

The obligation to follow national standards and to cater for all road users has informed the current design, leaving little or no opportunity to alter the road alignment or layout.

You can view all the supporting information, including detailed plans under ‘useful documents’ below. Further information is also included in our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Scheme impact

Norton Road runs through the Pelsall North Common and registered common land lies to both sides of the existing road. Any alterations to the existing bridge will have some impact on the common.

Retaining the existing bridge means that approximately 2500 mof common land will be lost in constructing the new bridge and highway. There is a legal requirement which stipulates that the council is required to apply to the Secretary of State to deregister areas of common land before any works can commence.

A further area of land which will allow space for construction and storage of materials will need to be temporarily deregistered. Once construction has finished, this temporarily deregistered land will be re-registered as common land, with mitigation measures being put in place including landscaping, tree planting, new reed beds and ecological improvements.

The realignment of the road to the east and the localised raised road levels on the approaches will have some impact on properties in that area. The council will work with local residents to identify suitable measures, where possible, to reduce any identified adverse impact.

An area of suitable land must also be offered as exchange land to replace all common land that is lost. The council intends to register as common an area of land at High Bridges, adjacent to the A461 Lichfield Road. This exchange land has an area of approximately 4,000 m2, which is considerably larger than the area of common land it is intended to replace.

The council has taken specialist expert advice relating to the loss of common land and the effect on the ecology. Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitat Regulations Assessments have been carried out so that the impact of the scheme on the local wildlife and ecology are understood and are appropriately dealt with. These assessments are available to view under ‘useful documents’ below.

Useful documents

Frequently asked questions

Principal developments to date

Prior to the York's Bridge replacement scheme consulted on in 2019, an earlier scheme was developed in 2012. A number of steps were undertaken, including public consultation in 2013 and application to the Planning Inspectorate in 2014 to deregister common land at Pelsall North Common. This application was refused in 2015. More information about earlier scheme developments, including the Planning Inspectorate's decision, is available here.

Following the Planning Inspectorate’s refusal to deregister part of Pelsall North Common, consideration was given as to how the council should proceed. After exploring many options, an area of land at High Bridges, Pelsall was identified as potentially more suitable as replacement common land than Moat Farm pool.
 
This land is council owned and is currently densely overgrown with trees and shrubs. It is fenced off from the adjacent A4124 Lichfield Road and there is currently no public right of access. Improvement of this land to facilitate public access and use will also compliment the adjacent, newly declared Wyrley and Essington Canal Local Nature Reserve (please see Area of Exchange Land). 
 
Recommendations were put to cabinet in December 2017 to approve the commencement of a new pre-application consultation to prepare and submit applications under the relevant sections of the Commons Act 2006 to deregister and undertake restricted works to facilitate construction of the new bridge. The area of land at High Bridges, Pelsall was proposed as replacement land for those parts of Pelsall North Common that are proposed to be deregistered. Cabinet was also asked to approve the preparation and submission of the necessary planning application for the scheme following the relevant consultation.

Scheme consultation (February - April 2019)

This was the second consultation undertaken by the council for this scheme. Consultation packs providing information about the scheme, including maps and diagrams, were circulated to local residents and stakeholders.
 
Walsall Council held 10 consultation road show events at various locations in Pelsall from late February 2019. The council’s First Stop Bus and staff were on location at each of the events to hear peoples’ views and answer any questions about the proposed scheme. These events were open to everyone and bookings were not required. Locations and times of the events were as follows:
 
Tuesday 26 February             2pm–4pm                                  Pelsall Community Centre
Wednesday 27 February        2pm–4pm                                 Moat Farm Estate
Friday 1 March                       2pm–4pm                                 Leyland Croft
Monday 4 March                     9am–11am                               Ryders Hayes School
Wednesday 6 March              10am–12noon                           Pelsall Village Centre
Monday 18 March                  10am–12noon                          Pelsall Community Centre
Thursday 21 March                1pm–3pm                                Moat Farm Estate
Saturday 23 March                 2pm–4pm                                Pelsall Village Centre  
Thursday 28 March                2pm–4pm                                 Pelsall Village Centre
Monday 1 April                       3pm–8pm                                 Pelsall Village Centre

Consultation pack 

For those unable to attend the events or for those who did not received a consultation pack, the information provided is available in the following links:

Consultation Questionnaire

Public consultation was held from 4 February to 5 April 2019.

A copy of the questionnaire is available to view here.

Consultation outcomes

Consultation responses were collated and analysed to inform the formal planning application which will be submitted in summer 2019.

The full York’s Bridge Consultation 2019 Summary of Results report is available to read here, along with feedback on the main issues raised in the consultation and some clarification on particular aspects of the proposed scheme.

Construction

Only once all of the above steps are completed and the necessary approvals obtained can construction works start on the replacement scheme. Because some of the processes are out of our control, the start date cannot be tightly defined at this stage.

Construction could take up to 18 months, the largest part of which will be the building of the new bridge and retaining walls. During this period Norton Road will remain open to traffic and access to properties will be maintained.

 

If you require any further information please contact:

Jag Raan

Team Leader (Major Projects Minor Improvements)

Walsall Council

Civic Centre

Darwall Street

WS1 1DG

Telephone 01922 655921

Email yorksbridgepelsall@walsall.gov.uk