School bridge plan rejected
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