After a couple of months of no news, I received an update from Mhairi Threlfall, the Bristol City Councillor for Transport.
I had said in my email to her that there seems to have been no meaningful progress in six months. Here is her reply in full: first her text, and then a forwarded progress report from the Highways team dealing with the project:
I do think it is inaccurate to state that “6 months has passed without meaningful action” – I’ve included what has been achieved since we first made contact – something like a heritage bridge repair caused by a hit and run is legally complex and takes significant time, and officers have worked hard in an environment of extremely constrained resource. The update below was the one that I received as I went on leave – the permission to apply to Heritage England to remove the bridge was sitting with the planning department, and delayed as an officer with an conflict of interest was initially assigned to the works. Planning permission would also need to be sought before the bridge can be removed, stored, repaired and replaced at a higher height.
I am working with officers to ensure as much as possible to see if work can be done concurrently,
Sent: 16 August 2018 14:54
To: Councillor Mhairi Threlfall
Subject: Kings Weston Road Footbridge update
An update as to the progress we have currently made on the investigation, design and Listed consent works which will be required for to the reinstatement of this footbridge The current programme situation is as follows, noted against the agreed commission brief with our framework consultants (Jacobs):
- Topographic Survey Complete
- Intrusive investigation Complete
- Paint testing Complete
- Principal Inspection and reporting including production of detailed drawing Complete
- Progress meeting Complete
- Production of Works Information for bridge removal and dismantling Draft received 3/8/18 BCC currently reviewing and response due imminently.
- Issue of Listed consent application for the above Draft received 15/8/18 BCC currently reviewing and response due imminently.
We are now awaiting the Heritage Statement from BCC’s Conservation Team (expected end of September, however delay due to change of Conservation officer), which will form part of the Listed consent application submission, the results of which will have to form part of the Works Information (special requirements will inevitably be stipulated for the contractor to follow).
We also then need to submit for Planning Permission, it is estimated that it will take three months for this which takes us to the new year earliest before we will be in a position to go out to tender for the footbridge removal. I am not sure if the listed consent application and PP can be concurrent or if we have to get the listed consent first, this would affect the proposed programme.
- Production of Feasibility Study of options for bridge reinstatement Complete
- Submission of AIP for chosen option
- Structural assessment of bridge and abutments for bridge reinstatement
- Issue of Listed consent application for the above
Based on this I would expect us to only be in a position to undertake the site required works in the early New financial year 2019/20.
If you need any further information on this matter please let me know.
There are a number of points in this update which are unclear to me or seem to contradict the process which has previously been outlined. I have replied as follows and await an update:
It is encouraging to hear that work is proceeding behind the scenes. However, I am confused about some of the points below, which seem to differ from the project plan you outlined in previous emails. Can you please clarify the following:
- In your previous email in May, you said: “currently the aim is to finish the assessments by July and then engage with the community (perhaps a workshop or meeting) about the costed options and to consider the next steps”. However your latest email suggests that there is now a single proposal, involving raising the bridge’s height, which is being prepared for planning. Is this the case? Or are other options being considered as a result of the feasibility study? And are you still intending to engage with the community on this?
- At the end of your email, there’s a line reading: “Based on this I would expect us to only be in a position to undertake the site required works in the early New financial year 2019/20.” Does this refer to the actual bridge repair, or just the dismantling, or other?
- In your 13 March email, you also spoke about the budgeting options for the repair, including the potential allocation of capital funding: “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.” What is the situation on this currently? If (as per point 1) there is now a costed proposal, has budget been allocated or planned for?
Once I have clarification on this, I’ll update the page…