A petition to gather support for the reopening of the Old Tram Bridge has gained over 1,200 signatures in a matter of days.Advertisement
The bridge over the River Ribble could reopen in the coming years if a project to restore or rebuild it is selected as part of the city’s Levelling Up Fund bid.
Former city councillor and co-founder of the Northern Research Group of MPs, Daniel Dewhurst, started the petition as a way to demonstrate public support for the project.
It’s part of a wider campaign by Mr Dewhurst to save the bridge, which closed in 2019 due to safety concerns. In July, he alerted Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council to the possibility of using the Levelling Up Fund for the project.
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Mr Dewhurst says the County Council has since responded that it will back a pitch to the government fund, but only if the application is made by the city authority, which owns the structure.
Read more: Preston City Council says funding bid for Old Tram Bridge repairs ‘will be considered’
Mr Dewhurst is now asking Prestonians to back his campaign to reopen the Old Tram Bridge, which could cost as much as £7 million to replace.
Mr Dewhurst said: “With both County and City Hall warning that unless external funding is found, the bridge will remain closed, it is imperative the Old Tram Bridge forms part of Preston City Council’s bid to secure resources through the Levelling Up Fund.
“The Levelling Up Fund presents the best chance to finally reopen this piece of infrastructure, which is an important part of our local travel network connecting commuters and the communities of Preston and South Ribble.”
Although one round to bid for these funds has already passed, Preston City Council could still be awarded up to £20 million in the second round to invest in projects such as the Old Tram Bridge.
He continued: “With the backing of Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council needs to secure the future interests of residents and the wider Preston community by submitting plans to reopen the Old Tram Bridge and maintain this important pedestrian and cycle route into the city.
“The alternative is condemning the bridge to serve as a derelict eyesore, falling into greater disrepair and causing harm to our local environment.
“That’s why I’m asking people across Preston to get behind the campaign and sign the petition – to show that this project is a priority and should be invested in.”
To sign the petition, visit the 38 Degrees website.
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