Old Tram Bridge ownership debate has been settled

Posted on - 15th August, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Penwortham, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News
The Old Tram Bridge spans the River Ribble at Avenham Park Pic: Stephen Melling
The Old Tram Bridge spans the River Ribble at Avenham Park Pic: Stephen Melling

Old Tram Bridge remains closed to the public after being classified as unsafe.


It has now emerged that Lancashire County Council claim Preston City Council have ownership of the bridge.

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The bridge was closed due to fears of collapse in late February.

In early July the county council released a report showing there were more than 200 faults with the bridge over the River Ribble.

Previously it was unclear who had official ownership of the bridge and would therefore need to advance the repairs needed.


Preston City Council have confirmed they have ownership of the Old Tram Bridge after documents emerged from 1965.

Read more: Old Tram Bridge was last repaired in 2014

What the county council say

The county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport county councillor Keith Iddon said: Having examined the Principal Bridge Inspection report further we believe that repairing the Old Tram Bridge is not a viable option.

“Unfortunately it is our opinion that the main deck beams are beyond repair and repairing the bridge piers would be uneconomic. Repairs to the bridge piers would also restrict options for a replacement deck.

“The current design also represents a maintenance liability as the bridge piers trap river-borne debris, and it is understood the Environment Agency would prefer a structure which avoids bridge supports within the river channel to minimise the risk of flooding.

“Our investigations have also found significant evidence to suggest that the bridge falls under the ownership of Preston City Council, showing the authority’s Parks Department applied for funding in 1965 to rebuild the bridge.

“However we will continue to work with Preston City Council to look at options for the future of the bridge, including sourcing external funding for a new bridge, and managing its closure.”

The Old Tram Bridge is in worse condition that first thought

What the city council say

Cabinet member for environment city councillor Robert Boswell said: “Our ownership of the structure of the Old Tram Bridge is only part of the story. As Councillor Iddon and representatives of Lancashire County Council have acknowledged, there is an ongoing dialogue between the two councils about the condition of the bridge and the desire to maintain a public crossing of the Ribble.

“As the Highway Authority, LCC naturally have an interest and responsibility for any definitive public right of way on a bridge across the river.

“Currently the situation remains the same – we are awaiting outcomes from surveys and work being done to better understand the options moving forward.”

Read more: The Pavilion Cafe is officially open again

A campaign group, Friends of the Old Tramroad Bridge, with more than 2,000 members on Facebook helped bring the ownership to light.

Pauline Wood, one of the admins of the group, said she had met with the county council and they had suggested the city council owned the bridge.

Blog Preston followed this up and confirmed the ownership details as detailed above.

Read more: Six Preston parks keep the green flag flying

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