Saturday, 24 September 2011

Bridge Meeting a Disappointment to Some.

150 or so local people, including some Town Councillors, Shopkeepers, and representatives from the Emergency Services gathered at Tenbury High School on Wednesday to hear the County Council's briefing about the closure of Teme Bridge for repairs.

The meeting was rather light on information, as much of what was revealed was already well know locally.

The only bit of "news" was that English Heritage had refused permission for the upstream pavement to be removed, so the planned widening will no longer happen.

The bridge is expected to be closed for up to five months from 9th January, although it was hoped that it would be possible to use the bridge for periods during that time.  A footpath would be maintained during the closure period and a temporary car park will be established on the North side of the bridge.

The contractor will be chosen not on a least cost basis, but one who can finish the work quickly and can make the bridge available for traffic for as much of the time as possible.  Full details of all these arrangements should be available by mid November, once the contractor had been appointed.

It was explained that the bridge needed repairing and that as it no longer met the statutory requirements additional works would be carried out to bring the bridge up to specification.  It was hoped that these repairs would be the last major repairs for the next 120 years.

There had been calls for the repairs to be shelved, and have a weight limit instead, but it was explained that this would only delay the need to spend even more money in the future and weight limits are virtually unenforceable.

The Council also commented on the idea of a new bridge, but said that they didn't have access to the necessary £8 to £10 million pounds, and that the bridge would have to be sited much further up or down stream as it would not be allowed within sight of the old bridge, and the old bridge couldn't be demolished.

There were calls from the floor for a temporary bridge to be installed during the work which could be funded by tolls.  Again the Council explained that they hadn't the money for a temporary bridge.

A shop keeper asked if they would get compensation for the loss of trade, but was told that no compensation would be available, although there might be the possibility of some rate relief.

The Council said that all the diversionary routes would be gritted in the event of bad weather.  Separate routes would be sign posted for HGVs.

The Fire & Rescue Service will station an engine at the Bromyard Road Business Park during the closure.
Ambulance control will ensure cover is available via the diversionary routes or from Leominster or Bromyard. The Police will have an additional vehicle available in Tenbury.

Tenbury Advertiser
BBC News
Malvern Hills DC


Bumblebee said...

You know it's going to be bad when WCC's head of emergency planning tells the town in a public meeting: "You'd better stock up!" [for when the bridge is closed]..

Oddly this didn't go down too well as I recall though.. This potential level of enforced winter privation courtesy of WCC seemed to come as a broadside to many of those those assembled.

@WR15 said...

It's easy for an antagonistic crowd to react unfavourably to even the most sensible suggestion. Keeping a few days supply of staple foods is a standard recommendation against any civil emergency whether that is flood, or heavy snow fall. The fact is, we are relatively isolated from the main supply routes for Nisa, Spar & Co-Op and in the event of heavy snow it could be several days before our roads are cleared and deliveries can be achieved. (Bridge or no bridge)

Anonymous said...

It would be much less hassle - and safer - if the closure started in March!
At the meeting they said the bridge would otherwise need a 7.5 tonne weight limit. This sounds a better idea, and much cheaper.

@WR15 said...

I think many people have different views on the best time. A later closure impacts the early tourist season and the Food Fair & Jubilee Events.

A weight limit would only ever be a temporary solution. Eventually even more money would have to be spent with potentially a longer closure.

Ian said...

I can understand the aesthetic/heritage case for maintaining both pavements but it does seem an opportunity lost. If English Heritage had been formed in the Middle Ages most of our lovely towns (e.g. Ludlow) wouldn't exist in their present form.

@WR15 said...

Reading some of the planning objection letters, I can't help but think that some want to see the town preserved in aspic for them to visit on occasion. This approach may be OK for a tourist attraction, where the majority of shops are there to serve the tourist, but not easy to achieve in a working town. Some things are worth preserving, but this hand can be overplayed.

Anonymous said...

We need a new bridge but the money all gets spent in Worcester or Malvern or Shrwesbury.

Bumblebee said...

Well I might as well say it..

After all those months of WCC works the Teme bridge will effectively be the same grim bottleneck for traffic as previously [albeit with the arches secured]..

I don't think anyone needs a crystal ball to see what will happen if Tesco are successful in the CM site... Substantial additional traffic [all those people they're keen to 'pull back' in] from punters in cars as well as HGV's at all hours delivering. I know they 'promise' to adhere to a time window but many staff at Tesco Ludlow have witnessed this being flaunted by both their own HGV's as well as third party deliveries such as Wiseman Milk etc..

The medium to long term solution has to be a new, modern crossing of the Teme if the Town is to thrive into the future. Otherwise the existing bridge will become renowned as a clunky bottleneck and I suspect will form a deterrent at the end of the day for regular traffic/passing trade as well as tourism.

Doomed, we're all doomed Capt Mainwaring! ;-) The clip on my link would seem to have parralells with WCC's organisational skills.

Tenbury Futures* said...

Tenbury Futures would like to see the Cattle Market site sensibly and sustainably developed while retaining and re-using heritage buildings within the town's conservation zone. This tallies with the March questionnaire we ran in which over 2/3 of respondents* wanted a blended solution to the site that could benefit a swathe of the local community as opposed to short-termist thinking with a supermarket solution.

Not only have these ideas received much local support but the ideas have also been taken up by BBC TV's 'Village SOS' programme looking at communities trying to ensure a sustainable and dynamic future for their towns.

Click our link to see more about the questionnaire mentioned.

Anonymous said...

A long term 7.5 tonne limit would also cause problems for the fire and rescue service as a fire engine weighs around 13 tonnes.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but weight limits don't apply to emergency vehicles.

But I may be wrong

@WR15 said...

I think that not being able to widen the bridge is a lost opportunity, but on the other hand it is a useful traffic calming measure.

If you travel across the bridge when it's busy I guess you will have your own views, but I travel back a forth across the bridge many times a week and have done for more than 10 years and I have very rarely been delayed for more than a few moments.

I find that inconsiderate parking, especially on that short bit of yellow line between the Spar and the Cattle Market, or lorries forced to park to unload in the area near BooksX3 or outside Singapore Gardens cause far more delays.

Anonymous said...

What about that tractor that damaged 2 cars?

Do we need more big vehicles in Tesco for this to happen more often?

@WR15 said...

I'm sure accidents do happen. They happen everywhere else so why not in Tenbury. There have as far as I'm aware been very few accidents on the Bridge. (But records are usually only published for Personal Injury accidents so I maybe misled)

I was surprised to see a full length, fully loaded foreign artic and trailer parked with all the near-side wheels on the pavement of the bridge last week whilst the driver was asking for directions from Tenbury Farm Supplies. I bet the driver didn't know the pavement has been measured as only having a five tonne loading limit! I was waiting to see it roll into the Teme!

Mr. Longbeard said...

"...Tenbury Futures would like to see the Cattle Market site sensibly and sustainably developed while retaining and re-using heritage buildings within the town's conservation zone...."

And yet we still wait for an agreed approach, a timeline, a costing planetc etc etc what is it 6 months now???

RichTea said...

If my memory serves me correctly new bridges were built over the railway at Leominster and over the Teme at Stanford to provide HGV access and in neither case is the new bridge part of an A-CLASS road so there are local precedents for a new structure.

Shropshire and Worcestershire Highways have ducked the real issue of the bridge and junction irrespective of the Tesco application. As population and traffic volumes grow they will eventually install traffic lights in the interests of safety to control the A456/A4112 and the TESCO access junction and any linked pedestrian crossings. These will reduce the traffic flow volume capacity of the junctions and the resulting congestion and delays will be significant.

Rugby fan 72 said...

O Beardy you rogue....

And yet we still wait for an agreed approach, a timeline, a costing planetc etc etc what is it 6 months now

Are you directig this question to TF or WCC? - afterall the TF plan reliant on private benefactors etc is less of a concern to me than a public body spending the public purse with no apparent idea of how much the grand scheme will cost....

Mr. Longbeard said...

"...Are you directig this question to TF or WCC?..."

Anyoe who will listen....

If TF's want to hijack a thread about the bridge closures to publicise their own agenda with regards to the CM development then they should expect to be called out about it...

I have already stated my concerns over the bridge on their post on the bridge on their site.

But anyway as we have been derailed, how goes progress TF, any further forward on the development on the CM site??

Anonymous said...

If a kinked bridge was a useful traffic calming measure all new urban bridges would be built with kinks. They aren't, so clearly this is not the right way to calm traffic.
The truth is that wide vehicles drive on the pavement and they will continue to do so. One day somebody will be injured. Or maybe the pavement will fall into the river and several people could die (and then the bridge would be closed for months while it was fixed, like at Ludlow).
The current pavement is too narrow for a pram to pass a mobility scooter, so prams go in the road, which also isn't safe.
It is foolish to spend £1m+ on providing an unsafe bridge, while encouraging more HGVs to short-cut through the town by not having any weight limit. Far better to put a 7.5T weight limit on the existing bridge for a year while WCC apply to the government for money towards a new bridge. WCC are doing this for Evesham, and hope to receive £7 million - so why not do it for Tenbury? They did ask the government to pay for the repair work (the government said no) but repair work is clearly the county's responsibility, whereas a new bridge is exactly the sort of infrastructure investment the government has identified to help rebuild the UK's economy.
WCC want to demolish Abbey Bridge in Evesham and replace it with a new bridge. Abbey Bridge was the first competely structural concrete bridge in the UK and as such is a bridge of national importance. Rather than retain this piece of history, WCC want to demolish it and build a new bridge in the same place. Again, a new bridge "somewhere else" could allow the historic bridge to be retained, and avoid the months of nuisance while there is no bridge.
The Council has no vision for the future, no interest in the past and no respect for the people.

What a load of Kobblers said...

Anyone seen this week's Advertiser? It looks like they have taken people on from the News of the World. Click on the above if you want a laugh - it's obvious the Advertiser didn't even bother to go to the meeting. What a load of rubbish!

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