Village’s replacement bridge is shaping up

Date: Friday 15th September 2017
An artist’s impression of the three design options for the new permanent crossing at Pooley Bridge.
An artist’s impression of the three design options for the new permanent crossing at Pooley Bridge.

POOLEY Bridge could have a permanent replacement river crossing by next summer.

Cumbria County Council is consulting members of the public for their thoughts on three possible designs for the new bridge. The original structure was dramatically swept away during the floods of Storm Desmond in December, 2015, and there is currently a temporary replacement.

The public is being asked for its views on the merits of spandrels and soffits as part of the process to design the new bridge; an in-depth knowledge of such architectural terms is not strictly necessary, however.

Views have to be submitted by Thursday, 28th September, and it is hoped that construction could begin by early next summer.

People living in the village and the surrounding area were given the opportunity to see the three potential designs at a public meeting last month.

Miles MacInnes, chairman of Barton Parish Council, said: “We are all very pleased at the level of community consultation for the design of the new bridge. The three possible designs have met with a generally positive response and we look forward to seeing the final presentation.”

The different designs were developed following consideration of public feedback received during the first phase of the consultation process during July and August.

A range of views were expressed, but the traditional appearance of the original bridge was highlighted by many as being one of its best aspects. Hopes for the new bridge were more varied, with some in favour of a contemporary design, but almost all stressed the importance of aesthetics.

The options which are now being considered include a suspension bridge; a solid arched bridge; and a solid arched bridge with open spandrels — the almost triangular space under each side of the crossing’s arch. Keith Little, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It’s exciting to see these three designs and the process moving forward. We’ve had some excellent engagement with the local community in Pooley Bridge so far and we’re now keen to hear the views of as many people as possible.

“Hopefully this new bridge will last for generations, so it’s important that we get the design right. I’d encourage people to take the time to consider the options and share their feedback.”

The new bridge has to be aesthetically pleasant and sympathetic with the environment and make a contribution to the identity of the village; it must not contribute to further flooding and should preferably help to reduce flood risk and should be able to withstand future floods; and the bridge should allow for free open views to the landscape in both directions.

Once people’s views have been gathered together a final design concept is set to be presented next month with a third public engagement event arranged to take place in Pooley Bridge during the second week of October.