Flood defence works ‘minimal impact’ to historic bridge


Investigative works to a historic bridge could be carried out to see how it might be impacted by major new flood alleviation works which will run through West Leeds to Apperley Bridge, writes Richard Beecham.

Leeds City Council is in the process of a multi-million-pound project to reduce flooding risks from the city centre, along the Kirkstall valley to Calverley – and some of the work will be over the border in the Bradford district.

The second phase of a £100m scheme includes works at Apperley Bridge, such as strengthening river banks on Apperley Lane and around Harrogate Road.

It will include works on the historic bridge that gives the area its name, and Leeds City Council has now submitted a planning application to Bradford Council that would allow it to go ahead with works to this listed structure.

It comes after the Bradford Conservation Officer raised concerns about the proposed works to the bridge, which was constructed in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 17th century.

The officer said the works could prove “destructive” to the bridge.

The works will involve drilling “trial holes” into the bridge, but when this was discussed with Bradford officers they said: “No information is provided that this destructive proposal is the only available solution to
achieve the applicants’ desired outcomes.”

A design and heritage statement in Leeds City Council’s proposals says:

“The bridge became an important crossing point on the River Aire connecting Shipley with the Leeds and Bradford Road at Bramley. The bridge is two separate structures which abut. These structures support a single carriageway with 19th-century parapet walls.”

Discussing the need for the works, it says:

“In response to this request for more information, clearer construction details and a greater understanding of the significance of the bridge, it was determined that further investigative works were required to fully understand the composition and structural integrity of the bridge and the impact of the proposed scheme to the historic fabric.

“It is considered that the works have the potential to reveal significant information about the structure of the bridge and as such the works provide all for a better understanding of the evidential value of the bridge.

“As such the works are considered to result in minimal harm to the historic asset, which is outweighed by the beneficial impact of the knowledge gained from the investigation.

“This asset holds historic value as a crossing point over the River Aire and its position in the traditional layout of a main thoroughfare positioned with a inn at either end is vital to understanding its historic value.

“The proposed works are contained to the bridge itself, are minimal works into the fabric and will leave only limited scarring on the fabric which will not impact on the value. There will be no change to the setting of the asset and therefore the works are considered to result in no impact to the historic value of the asset.”

Bradford Council is expected to decide whether to allow the works by early July.


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