Pelsall councillors say safeguards have been put in place for local residents, following the approval of the building of a replacement bridge alongside York’s Bridge.
Coun Garry Perry made the statement after Walsall Council’s planning committee approved the scheme in Norton Road yesterday.
“There were some speakers against, however, we have done all we can to mitigate against potential risks, weighing up highway and pedestrian safety, as well as impact,” he said.
“First proposed in 1992, this has been on the anvil for many years. My colleagues and I have done what we can to put safeguards in place and rightly challenged the replacement of the bridge in the first place.”
He said councillors and council officials had explored the possibility of repairing the historic bridge, which dates to the mid 1800s and is owned by the Canal and River Trust, as well as undertaking a complete renovation but admitted that the options were limited.
Denying rumours that the new bridge, which would carry traffic instead of the deteriorating historic bridge, was being undertaken to facilitate any potential mining on the Cannock side, Coun Perry added: “We are also seeking an environmental restriction to prevent HGV from using the bridge to access the centre of the village along here.”
“Of course there will be some residents who will disagree with this and some will form their own judgement. However, this has not been an easy issue for us to deal with but we will continue to do all within our power to offset concerns and ensure the very best outcome for Pelsall residents.”
Residents will be consulted about barrier improvements and access to the canal towpath via inland waterways.
The approval of the scheme has also meant that Moat Farm pool will have common land status conferred on it as part of a “swap” for common land being used for the bridge area.
“Keeping the decision local via the planning committee was the right thing to do,” said Coun Perry. “We have through this avenue had an influence on securing conditions for the benefit of local people. Otherwise the Dept for Transport may have made the decision and far removed from local opinion our safeguards would have been lost.”