A bid for funding to repair the Old Tram Bridge is set to be considered.Advertisement
Preston City Council says the Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund may provide an opportunity to get the bridge – which was closed to the public in February 2019 due to numerous safety concerns – reopened.
Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: “Since its closure for safety reasons, we have worked with partners to identify appropriate funding opportunities to resolve the future of the well-loved Old Tram Bridge.
“The recently announced Levelling Up Fund may provide this opportunity as it allows local authorities to bid for significant funding to invest in local infrastructure that will improve everyday life. As the fund will support city centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets it is important that we prioritise the projects for which any potential bid is made to a future funding round.
“Given the local interest in the Old Tram Bridge and the significant investment required to undertake works, this project will be considered alongside the other competing priorities for the city.
“However, in the meantime the bridge must remain closed for the safety and protection of the public.”
The statement comes in response to a campaign by former city councillor Daniel Dewhurst to use the Levelling Up Fund to finance the reopening of the bridge, which spans the River Ribble from Preston’s Avenham Park to Penwortham.
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Friends of Old Tram Bridge Campaign Group, which has been campaigning for investment since the bridge was first closed, are also backing the campaign.
Glenn Cookson, Chair of the Friends of Old Tram Bridge Campaign Group said: “The Campaign Group have been working for two years to find a way to reopen the Old Tram Bridge. In that time, we’ve seen few opportunities or ideas that would realistically finance its reopening, whether that be through repairs or a complete rebuild.
“That’s why we’re backing the campaign to use the Levelling Up Fund, which is the best opportunity Preston has to finally reopen the Old Tram Bridge. If we don’t harness this opportunity now, it’s likely the bridge will remain closed, falling into further disrepair.
“By giving the campaign our support, and that of our 2.3k members, we’re hopefully either Lancashire County Council or Preston City Council will see sense and submit plans to the Government to reopen the bridge under the Levelling-Up Fund.”
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