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York's Bridge

York’s Bridge replacement scheme

Planning permission ref 19/1042 was granted subject to conditions on 15 December 2020 for construction of a new road bridge adjacent to the existing York’s bridge on Norton Road in Pelsall following a public consultation held from 4 February to 5 April 2019.
Before works can start on site the council has to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for the affected parts of the common to be deregistered and for their consent to carry out works on common land.
These application documents have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for approval and notices were published in the Express & Star newspaper on 31 March 2021.

Representations to the Planning Inspectorate

Any representations in respect of the proposed deregistration and exchange should be sent ONLY by email on or before Friday 21 May 2021.
Due to Government advice in respect of Coronavirus (COVID-19), no Planning Inspectorate staff are currently working at the Bristol or Cardiff offices until further notice. We request, therefore, that you do not send any hard copy appeal forms or evidence by post. Copies of the applications will not be left in a public area for viewing.
However, the applications can be viewed in the links below or copies can be obtained by giving at least 7 days' notice in writing to Kathryn Moreton, Head of Highways & Transport, Economy, Environment & Communities Directorate, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1DG. You can also contact Kathryn by email.
The application form and documents will be available for public inspection until Friday 21 May 2021.
Representations sent to The Planning Inspectorate cannot be treated as confidential. They will be copied to the applicant and possibly to other interested parties. To find out more about how the Planning Inspectorate uses and manages personal information, please view the privacy notice.

Applications to the Planning Inspectorate

All documentation submitted can be viewed below

Section 16 - Application to deregister and exchange common land

Download list

 

Section 38 - Application for consent to carry out works on common land

Download list

Consultation summary of results 

Public consultation on the York's Bridge replacement scheme closed on 5 April 2019. You can read the full York's Bridge Consultation 2019 report, 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.
While local residents and businesses were sent a consultation pack in the post, this public consultation was open to all interested parties and everyone was invited to have their say. Responses were collated and analysed and a formal application for full planning permission for the construction of a new road bridge adjacent to the existing York’s bridge was submitted in August 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 areas of common land will be lost in constructing the new bridge, highway, car-parking area and in providing land for a site compound. The total area of common that will be lost is 4,925 m2 and 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.

There is also a requirement to apply to the Secretary of State with a separate application for consent to carry out works on existing common land. This will be required to enable construction of a mitigation pond, a new reed-bed, drainage improvements, a crib-wall and a new access track serving the Wyrley and Essington canal from Norton Road. Following completion of these works, mitigation measures are intended to be put in place which will include landscaping, tree planting, 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 7,491 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​​

Download list

​Frequently asked questions

Want more information? Read our 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 the 'area of exchange land' document). 

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 to 4pm    Pelsall Community Centre
Wednesday 27 February 2pm to 4pm Moat Farm Estate
Friday 1 March  2pm to 4pm  Leyland Croft
Monday 4 March  9am to 11am Ryders Hayes School
Wednesday 6 March 10am to 12pm Pelsall Village Centre
Monday 18 March 10am to 12pm Pelsall Community Centre
Thursday 21 March  1pm to 3pm    Moat Farm Estate
Saturday 23 March  2pm to 4pm Pelsall Village Centre
Thursday 28 March   2pm to 4pm   Pelsall Village Centre
Monday 1 April    3pm to 8pm Pelsall Village Centre

Consultation pack

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

Download list

Consultation outcomes

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

You can view the full York's Bridge Consultation 2019 summary of results report, 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.

Email the York's Bridge team.