Notes of meeting held at the “Iron Bridge” River Nene Elton

 

Present

Katie Angel Rights of Way Team Leader Northants Highways (KA)

Sara Grindley-     Structures Dept. Northants Highways(SG)

RobPearson         As above                                                   (RP)

Jo Hughes             Elton Resident     (adjoining Island House) (JH)

Richard Smith      Elton Parish Council                                                       (RS)

Mark Holman      Elton Parish Council                                                       (MH)

Date 29 July 2016

Purpose of the site meeting to discuss the ongoing closure of the Iron Bridge and NCC proposals for its future,

JH outlined the various issues the Structural Survey, commissioned by NCC and produced by “Under” from CreweUp and, had revealed including settlement at the concrete footing andcorrosionto the framework.  This had resulted in the closure of the bridge for safety reasons.

RS, JH and MH all indicated that in their view this was overkill in view of the light usage (footpath users only) that the structure catered for.  MH advised NCC that the bridge formed an essential part of a very popular circular walk.  As there is no alternative route this walk is no longer possible.  He also stressed there was a great deal of unhappiness in the village over the prolonged closure.

SG advised the meeting that NCC had commissioned 2 feasibility reports, one for repair and the other for replacement.  Ideally the County Council favour replacement as they feel this will save money in the long term although they assured the meeting that repair was being seriously considered as an option.

The reports will be presented to the council by Christmas2016and a firm recommendation (based on the report’s findings) will be submitted to the Cabinet meeting in February next year. In the meantime, an ecological survey will be commissioned covering both options and this will be submitted to the Environment Agency at the same time as the reports are received. The surveys will then be sent to the Environment Agency who have 2 months to issue any approvals required. However, these surveys are species dependant and can only be conducted at certain times of the year and may take until July to complete

Assuming cabinet accepts the findings and that the EA issue consents by September specifications and invitations to tender could be sent out by November and work possibly starting in Spring 2018 with completion by summer that year.

This of course means that the bridge is likely to remain closed for the next two years

SG and RP suggested that one of the biggest problems will be access and they will have to seek consent from adjoining owners.   JH very kindly offered her parking spaces at her house to assist with the process.

RS will send SG details of “off the shelf” ready constructed bridges which can simply be lowered into place.

SA requested the Parish Council work with the County to help the process through as speedily as possible and suggested that any help with grant aid would make the County’s decision on the matter more likely.

MH indicated that he would be taking the matter forward to the next Parish Council meeting on 20thSeptember to seek approval for a way forward.  Obviously two options are open (1) assist the County with whichever option is chosen by them or (2) pursue a legal route with the Notices.

RS and MH thanked the County representatives for their time in meeting the Parish.