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Preston City Council in discussions with Government over missed Old Tram Bridge funding deadlines

Posted on - 29th May, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston Locations, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News
CGI of the replacement for the Old Tram Bridge
How the new bridge will look

Preston City Council says discussions are ongoing with the Government after it was revealed works to replace the Old Tram Bridge will not meet funding deadlines.

Earlier this month, work officially began to replace the 200-year-old structure thanks largely to millions of pounds of funding from the Levelling Up fund. The historic bridge is to be demolished, with a replacement factory built in sections and brought to the site.

However, engineers have explained the nature of the site involves several constraints which will affect the speed of the project. One of these is the lack of an access road but even bigger is the presence of salmon in the River Ribble.

Read more: Lancashire County Council blasted over suggestions of short-term ‘blobbing’ pothole repair method

This means that work can only take place on site during a few months of each year and, as a result, work is not expected to be complete until late 2025 – after the deadline associated with the funding.

Guidance for projects in Round Two of the Levelling Up funding states: “We would expect all funding provided from the Fund to be spent by 31 March 2025, and, exceptionally, into 2025-26 for larger schemes.”

That March deadline is repeated several times in the guidelines and associated documents, along with the caveat that exceptions can be given. It has led to questions of whether Preston’s works will still be covered by the funding and, when contacted by Blog Preston, the authority stopped short of offering any guarantees.

A spokesperson for Preston City Council said: “The Council is in continued discussion with the Government regarding the delivery programme for all the Active Preston Levelling Up Fund projects and submits updated monitoring returns on progress regularly. The Council continues to make excellent progress on the Old Tram Bridge project despite the challenging timescales provided.”

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