Preston residents urged to submit Old Tram Bridge replacement designs

Posted on - 7th December, 2021 - 8:55am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Campaigns, Parks, Penwortham, Politics, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News, Transport
Daniel Dewhurst, David Cox and John Bridge at the site of the boarded-up Old Tram Bridge near Avenham Park in the city centre.

Preston residents can win a £1,000 cash prize for submitting designs for a new bridge over the River Ribble.


A campaigner has launched a competition inviting residents to produce a design to replace the Old Tram Bridge.

Entries will be judged by an independent panel between 6 December 2021 and 31 January 2022. The first-place winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize, with their design built if the necessary funding is obtained.

Read more: Old Tram Bridge restoration stalled due to lack of funding says Preston City Council

The Old Tram Bridge is currently fenced off
The Old Tram Bridge is currently fenced off

Competiton organiser Daniel Dewhurst said: “The boarded-up bridge straddling Preston and South Ribble is an eyesore – not only for local residents who have witnessed its demise but to visitors of Avenham Park who are left with a less than ideal lasting impression of our city.

“My main aim is to encourage residents to take an interest in our city’s heritage whilst drawing attention to the clear environmental benefits of reopening the bridge.

“It connects the communities of Preston and South Ribble and can be used by walkers, runners and cyclists.”

Read more: Petition to reopen the Old Tram Bridge attracts over 1,200 signatures in days

The Old Tram Bridge Pic: Tony Worrall
The Old Tram Bridge Pic: Tony Worrall

The bridge, which dates back to 1802, has been closed for three years on safety grounds.

A replacement bridge could cost around £8 million to build and be paid for with a council bid to the government Levelling Up Fund.

The organisers hope the competition will not only capture the public imagination but will spur Preston City Council into action and see it seek the required funding.

Read more: Preston City Council says funding bid for Old Tram Bridge repairs ‘will be considered’

Architect John Bridge said: “It may not be what most people think of as an iconic design, but the Old Tram Bridge is certainly a much-loved heritage asset.

“It would be great to see it replaced with something that echoes its rich history but with a modern twist that can be enjoyed by many more generations to come.” 

The competition is supported by local businesses, including Studio John Bridge, PR and marketing agency Fifty2M, David Cox Architects, and Friends of Tram Bridge.

Read more: Opinion: Levelling Up Fund presents game-changing opportunity to reopen Old Tram Bridge

Daniel said: “Preston City Council cannot afford to wait until the bridge falls into a worse state.

“If it doesn’t take the initiative now, there’s a real possibility the bridge will remain closed indefinitely, which would be a blow to residents and the wider Preston community.

“The council must realise that the Levelling Up Fund is the best opportunity Preston has to reopen the Old Tram Bridge crossing in one guise or another.”

Read more: Two years since the Old Tram Bridge was closed

The competition is open for entries between 6 December 2021 and 31 January 2022, with the winners announced in early February 2022.

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Will you be submitting a design? Let us know in the comments below

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