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News Archive > General > End of the line for footbridge?

End of the line for footbridge?

By Natasha Swift 18th October 2017

End of the line for footbridge?
The damaged footbridge at St Austell Railway Station

IT COULD be the end of the line for the county’s only footbridge of its kind which has now been labelled as a “danger” after parts of the roof blew off the structure on Monday.

A 14ft by 5ft corrugated sheet was lifted off the Grade II listed footbridge at the railway station at around 11.45am, sparking fears for the stability of the iconic local landmark.

The roof of the 19th century bridge was blown off by the strong winds prompting fears that a number of other panels on the structure could suffer the same fate.

The area was cordoned off to the public while workers surveyed the damage.

A spokesman from the railway station told the Voice the future of the footbridge was now unclear following the incident.

They said: “It looks like the end of it. It is dangerous. The other panels could lift off.”

This comes amid a battle between residents, MP for St Austell Steve Double and councillors to save the listed structure as Network Rail, which owns the bridge, tries for a second time to de-list it.

The Voice revealed in 2013 how Network Rail had tried and failed to get listed building permission from Cornwall Council to de-list the structure and relocate it to another location.

It was refused by Cornwall Council, who explained: “The application if approved would result in substantial harm to a Grade II listed designated heritage asset, both through the direct loss of the footbridge and because this would leave the upside of the station building in isolation, resulting in the loss of the original Z shaped platform and the integrity of the historic station complex as a whole.”

Town councillors have raised concerns that the footbridge is going to rack and ruin.
At a St Austell Town Council meeting in March, councillors said they feared Network Rail was now letting the bridge become a health and safety risk so it would have to be removed.

Councillors agreed to write a letter to Network Rail and Cornwall Council to highlight the need for the railway bridge and signal box to be tidied up before it became a safety concern.

Hundreds of people have also signed a petition calling for urgent action to be taken to save the 1882 footbridge.

Cornwall councillor for Gover and St Austell town councillor, Sandra Heyward, has repeatedly called for Network Rail to take urgent action to restore the bridge.

She said the incident on Monday had “played into their hands”, adding: “Hopefully they will repair it immediately.

“They need to take on board our concerns and get it fixed.”

MP for St Austell, Mr Double, said: “It is a shame to see our town’s iconic rail foot-bridge allowed to deteriorate to such an extent by Network Rail.

“This is one of the reasons both myself and many others are campaigning against their decision to try to de-list and move this bridge away from St Austell.

“I hope to see its listed status preserved and Network Rail made to restore it to its original glory for all to use.”

By Natasha Swift 18th October 2017

Simon 18th October 2017 10:34
Disgraceful they are being allowed to let this listed bridge fall in to such a bad state of repair that they will then eventually be able to have removed on H&S grounds. It should not be allowed to have been left to get in this state and they should be forced to repair and prosecuted for such disregard to a listed structure, shame on them and whoever is allowing them to get away with it. Joe Public would not be allowed to do behave the same for a listed building they own.
frederick edwards 21st October 2017 15:08
This was inevitable as these people, British Rail for one, seem intent on spending as little money as possible so that our heritage etc. get pulled destroyed. Then there´s all this house building!!!!!
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