School bridge plan re­jected

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

YARM School says it is dis­ap­pointed af­ter its plan for a new Tees cross­ing – dubbed “a bridge to nowhere” – was re­jected.

The 36m bridge link­ing Yarm School with the Tees Her­itage Park, in Ea­glescliffe, was turned down by coun­cil­lors in a sur­prise move last week.

The pri­vate school had urged plan­ners to ap­prove the “high-qual­ity” foot and cy­cle bridge that would be open to the pub­lic.

But it was re­jected by coun­cil­lors fol­low­ing a se­ries of im­pas­sioned speeches in which it was la­belled a “farce”.

Eg­glescliffe res­i­dent Shane Sell­ers said: “The only ben­e­fi­ciary for this pro­posal is Yarm Pub­lic School – and not, as they would like you to be­lieve, the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

Kit­ted out in full cy­cling re­galia, Ca­role Jones said it would take 20 min­utes to ne­go­ti­ate the bridge and cy­clists would be forced to carry their bikes along a thin path.

She claimed: “The cy­cle path shown is not a cy­cle path as it leads nowhere.”

Mark El­lis also raised doubts about the “claimed pur­pose, vi­a­bil­ity and cred­i­bil­ity” of the scheme.

“It was with some be­muse­ment that I read the case for the in­stal­la­tion of this foot, cy­cling and dis­abled friendly bridge in Yarm,” he said.

“That bank of the Tees is not easy walk­ing, you have heard it is cer­tainly not cy­cling and it most def­i­nitely is not dis­abled friendly.”

The meet­ing also heard fears it would at­tract “un­savoury char­ac­ters”, neg­a­tively im­pact on the area’s “tran­quil sur­round­ings” and in­crease flood risk.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was ul­ti­mately re­jected, with only the com­mit­tee’s vicechair­man Cllr Mick Stoker vot­ing in favour.

But no ob­jec­tions were re­ceived from statu­tory con­sul­tees and plan­ning of­fi­cers had rec­om­mended it for ap­proval.

A spokes­woman said the pri­vate school was “nat­u­rally dis­ap­pointed” by the de­ci­sion.

She added that they “re­main con­vinced” the bridge pro­posal would en­hance Yarm. They are now re­view­ing de­tails of the de­ci­sion be­fore de­cid­ing how to take the mat­ter for­ward.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the bridge would have looked

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