Scarborough Bridge: plans in for upgrade

Scarborough Bridge, pedestrian walkway, April 2016

Hurrah! Much rejoicing! There’s an actual planning application for the Scarborough Bridge upgrade.

Yes, I am excited. It’s probably one of the most exciting and interesting projects relating to our local built environment that I’ve seen in the years York Stories has been online.

While putting finishing touches to the review of the year, I realised that I’d not heard anything recently about the (previously covered) plans to update the pedestrian and cycle access to Scarborough Bridge, and thought I’d have a quick check on the council’s planning applications portal. Didn’t expect anything to be there yet, until the New Year maybe, but there it is:

17/03049/FUL | Replace 1.8m footpath/cyclepath with 3.6m wide footpath/cyclepath with associated alterations to bridge abutments, ramps and stair access arrangements | Cycle And Footpath – Scarborough Bridge To Platform One Car Park York Station Tanners Moat York

The application was validated just before Christmas.

I’ve had a look through the documents, and done my best to study the details regarding where the steps and ramps will go, what it will look like.

Have to say that in this case I’m not overly concerned with what it looks like. It just needs to work, work better than what’s there now.

Anyone who’s interested can peruse the planning application documents in detail on the link above.

Here’s an extract showing the planned ramps and steps on the Marygate carpark side.

Extract from planning application documents

Detail from Network Rail proposed bridge and ramps works (PDF)

A few people have questioned whether the proposed work is necessary/worth the money. Of course it is.

“From the consultation it was clearly evident that there is strong public support for the proposed new bridge, with 135 (of 142) comments stating their enthusiastic support for the project. Comparably, there were only two objections received. Comparing this to previous public consultation exercises for transport schemes, this is perhaps the most (almost unanimously) positively received consultation the Transport team have conducted in living memory.”

– Richard Holland Transport Project Manager, City of York Council (Statement of Community Involvement) (PDF)

Can’t argue with that really.

Another extract from the planning application documents, explaining the need for the new access:

“The report highlighted the already high volumes of pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge (identified as on average over 2,600 pedestrians and over 600 cyclists per day) despite the unsatisfactory access arrangements where cyclists have to lift / wheel their bikes up the steep narrow steps and the footbridge deck itself is only 1.3 metres wide. The footbridge is currently inaccessible for wheelchair users or others with mobility impairments. Additionally the river crossing becomes completely unusable when river levels are high as the current access is via the steps from the riverside paths.”
– Network Rail, planning statement (PDF)

The planning application documents also make clear what I think many locals know already, that the bridge isn’t some outstanding example of railway architecture that needs preserving as it is. It has already been altered in the past when necessary.

It clearly does have heritage significance:

“The original Scarborough Bridge was part of the heroic age of railway building, when ‘railway mania’ gripped the country”
– Alan Baxter Ltd (Statement of Significance) (PDF)

And will still be there as a railway bridge, with trains to and from Scarborough rumbling across its recently replaced rail decks. If the plans are approved cyclists and wheelchair users and people with pushchairs can wheel by alongside, with pedestrians not having to squash past one another on a cramped walkway. Possibly as soon as 2019, if these plans are approved.

Subject to agreement by the Executive, a high level indicative programme is illustrated below:

31 August 2017: Executive Decision to Proceed subject to confirmation of funding
October 2017: WYCA and YNYER LEP Funding Decisions
November 2017– January 2018: Planning Application
March 2018: Award of contract for construction
January 2019: Completion

report to council Executive, 31 Aug 2017 (PDF)

It appears to be on course so far, as we’re at planning application stage.

Excellent news.

I’ve written about Scarborough Bridge many times before.


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