North Tyneside Council is making an order, under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, for the stopping-up of the public footpath over Borough Road Bridge.
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the proposal to stop-up the footpath and demolish the bridge.
Why is the council proposing to remove the bridge?
The bridge is fast approaching the end of its serviceable life and isn’t well used.
Following a public consultation, plans were made to remove the bridge.
What is the alternative?
A parallel crossing, which gives equal priority for pedestrians and cyclists was installed on Borough Road, near the junction with Waldo Street, in August 2019.
It provides a centralised crossing point and improves links into North Shields town centre for all users.
How do you know the bridge is not widely used?
Two pedestrian surveys of the bridge have been carried out.
The first was carried out over four days between Thursday, August 27 and Sunday, August 30 2015 (an August Bank Holiday weekend and during school holidays). The survey recorded between 123 and 160 bridge crossings from 7am to 7pm.
A further survey was conducted on Tuesday, November 20 2018, from 7am to 7pm, which recorded 91 bridge crossings. On the same day, there was also a pedestrian survey of Borough Road at ground level which showed there 1,163 crossings of the road.
Is the council selling land under or next to the bridge?
There is a triangle of land owned by a private land owner that is subject to a planning application (ref. 19/01216/FUL) for the construction of six town houses. This has no relevance on the decision to remove the bridge.
When was the bridge built?
The existing steel lattice footbridge was built in 1936 and replaced the iron 1850’s footbridge.
Is the bridge listed?
It is unlisted. A request for its listing was rejected by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport in February 2019. It is located within a designated Conservation Area and this was taken into account when permission was granted for its demolition.
What inspections and repairs have been carried out in recent years?
A principal inspection, which involved a close examination of the bridge was carried out in 2011. An even more detailed inspection, known as a special inspection, took place in 2013.
The bridge was found to be in a fair condition requiring substantial work to extend its life. It has widespread corrosion and paint failure along with other issues.
Pending a decision on the long-term future of the bridge, an essential safety repair took place in 2016 after a self-seeding sapling displaced the large sandstone copings at the top of the eastern abutment.
How much would the capital cost* be to demolish, repair or replace the bridge?
It is estimated that demolishing the bridge would have a capital cost of around £63,000.
It would have a capital cost of around £360,000 to bring the bridge to a good condition (an alternative ‘do minimum’ repair option was costed at £290,000). Significant maintenance work would still be required at least every 10 years.
Demolishing and replacing the bridge would cost around £1million (incorporates optimism bias assumptions outlined in DfT Transport Analysis Guidance 1.2, July 2017).
*Capital costs are fixed, one-time expenses
What public consultation was held about the proposal to demolish the bridge?
We consulted key stakeholders and also wrote to more than 900 households in the local area. The letter invited people to give their views by post, email, or at drop-in events held at North Shields Customer First Centre or The Parks Sports Centre on December 7 2017. Notices were displayed at Borough Road Bridge about the proposals and drop-in event.
The overall response to the consultation was low – there were 39 objections, 13 responses in support and two neutral responses.
When was planning permission granted for the demolition of the bridge?
On December 17 2019 North Tyneside Council’s planning committee decided that the planning application for the bridge’s demolition should be approved subject to confirmation that the Secretary of State did not wish to call in the application.
The Secretary of State informed the local authority on January 31 2020 that the application would not be called in and the planning decision was issued on February 4 2020.
The Council made an order for the stopping-up of the Public Right of Way at Borough Road Bridge, North Shields on 25 May 2021. The Council received a number of objections to the Order, copies of which can be found here. On this basis, the Council referred the matter for determination to the Planning Inspectorate.
The Public Inquiry is scheduled to take place at 10:00am on 17 January 2023 for a period of 2 days at North Tyneside Register Office, 1 Howard Street, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE30 1LZ. A copy of the Notice of Public Inquiry and Plan can be found here.