At the beginning of March, I asked Mhairi Threlfall, the Bristol Council Minister with responsibility for Transport, to update us on three key issues. Below is her team’s response to my questions:
1. As I understand it, the application for investigative works on the bridge has now been approved, and there is scheduled to be a road closure 16-18 April for this to take place. Please can you confirm?
The Certificate of Lawfulness application for investigations was lodged with Planning on 5th February – Application No: 18/00507/CPLB. We are awaiting the decision on this. We are being told by Planning that the decision will be made on Thursday 8th March. The TTRO has been submitted for the dates 16-18Th April.
2. If so, I presume we are still at Phase 1 of the timetable ie the point we should have been in November last year. Can you please let us know what elements of other phases have been completed, if any, and what the timetable now looks like? Most importantly for residents, when do you expect to have a recommended solution for the bridge’s repair?
The Stage 1 investigation works are booked in from the 16th April to 18th April, will consist of the following site works:
1. Full Topographical survey
2. Heritage Survey
3. Trial Hole excavations
4. Cores to Rock face
5. Scaffolding repairs and Adjustments
6. Banner Installation
7. Temporary Crossing Repairs and Adjustments.
Following the successful completion of this stage 1 investigations on site a full Report and survey results with detailed drawings with all the findings will be submitted for further discussion. At this stage feasibility discussion will need to be entered into to discuss all the report findings and identify the methodology, costs, timeframes and associated risks with re-establishing the footbridge and the level of necessary refurbishment works required.
It is estimated that this report shall be issued to BCC on 30th April. Further discussion thereafter are very much dependent on the findings of Stage 1 Investigations.
3. Once a solution has been agreed, there will be the issue of funding for the repair. Given that any solution is likely to cost in the tens of thousands, what plans have been made to budget for repair? We do not want to be in a position in a few months time where we have a costed solution but have to wait for many more months/years because no budget has been set aside. So please can you tell us where the funds would be sourced from, how quickly they might become available, and whether crowdfunding or other community support may be necessary?
The intention from Stage one investigations is to have costed options to allow a high level decision to be made as to the provision of Capital funding to facilitate the re-establishment of this footbridge structure.
One consideration may be the use of capital funding in the next budget round, however, whilst the overall fund for maintenance has increased this is due to the three major funding bids at Redcliff, Chocolate path and Challenge Fund on Airport Rd. The entire maintenance allocation needs to meet the remaining statutory priorities, funding which has been reduced from £5.7m to £3.6m due to less funding from government.
Another option could be use of area CIL/section 106 monies through area committees – this is a local Councillor led process. The deadline for area committee schemes for this year is the 4th of May.
Crowd funding or any other sources of funding would also be welcome however we are talking the costs getting into many 100’s of thousands but as above this will come out of the investigations.