By John Baron
Council planning chiefs have said more work needs to be done before they will sign off the new swing bridge in Rodley.
A meeting was held on site at Moss Bridge today with ward councillors, council officials, the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and other relevant parties to consider whether the bridge was ‘fit for purpose’.
The meeting follows a number of concerns that the new manual bridge linking the former Airedale Mills site to the other side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal has failed to open and close properly several times since it was installed in January, despite engineering work to tackle the problems.
Cars and pedestrians have been left stranded for hours at a time.
Cllr Peter Carlill (Lab, Calverley & Farsley) attended this morning’s meeting. He said: “The conclusion was that the additional works done to the bridge still do not meet the conditions set out by CRT and the council, therefore the bridge is still not signed off and does not meet the conditions of the development.
“The contractors have outstanding works they want to make, so yet another meeting will be held on site to see if these make any improvement.”
The bridge is due to lead to a planned ‘island’ housing development of up to 76 new homes, which is awaiting detailed planning permission.
But developer Dynamic Capital and Investments says the latest issues are down to a combination of boater error and vandalism – and is set to produce a video, accessed via QR code on a mobile phone, to show boat owners how to use it properly.
The Canal & River Trust said in a statement issued earlier this week: “Canal & River Trust does not own or operate Moss Swing Bridge; it is privately owned by Rodley Bridge Management Company.
“Canal & River Trust is working with the developer to resolve operational issues with the bridge. These improvements include changing the control panel and barrier positions, as well as work to balance the bridge.”
As reported last week, Paul Ross, managing director at Dynamic Capital and Investments, strongly refuted suggestions that the bridge ‘wasn’t fit for purpose’, agreeing that there had been initial teething problems but that these have been resolved and that the bridge has gone through a rigorous design process.
Mr Ross had suggested the latest issues are down to a combination of boater error and vandalism – and promised to produce a video, accessed via QR code on a mobile phone, to show boat owners how to use it properly.
Open letter to planners
Cllr Andrew Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) said has written an open letter to senior council officers. In it, he says he is awaiting answers to a number of detailed questions he has asked of council officers and expressed concerns that the bridge is still not operational in terms of the planning conditions set by the council’s planning department.
“It is perfectly obvious from my correspondence and discussions with my constituents that the council, and its planning department, have suffered serious reputational damage. Duty of care to existing residents appears to be ignored,” Cllr Carter said.
“All in all the council and, I would add, the Canal and River Trust, have in my view not properly or holistically examined the implications of a bridge with significant failings, or the impact of a site for 60+ houses with its main access over the bridge. Up to press the whole saga underlines serious shortcomings in the way the council has handled this whole issue.”
Here is the full list of candidates standing in Calverley & Farsley ward at the local elections on May 4. They include Peter Carlill (Labour), Ellen Graham (Green), Rob Lees (Yorkshire Party), Stuart McLeod (Liberal Democrats), Jas Singh (Conservative).
Will this saga never end? The article doesn’t mention that two different bridge engineers tried (unsuccessfully) to show those at the meeting how the bridge works, and one of them even had a medical episode after his attempts. Doesn’t bode well for, particularly, older users of the bridge, especially those not confident in using smartphones.
Having used this swing bridge the problems / issues are too long to list here. As all boaters carry lump hammers and don’t all use mobile phone apps, rather than wait hours for someone to investigate a problem someone will attempt a repair.
Can we spare a though for the canal boaters who have to operate this bridge? The bridge isn’t only for this new housing development. After having trying to open this bridge, I can honestly say that this bridge is not fit for purpose. Penny pinching by bridge owners have created this problem. Any suggestion that this bridge meets the minimum required standards is laughable. I would love to meet the Managing Director of this company and for him to tell me with a straight face that the bridge is acceptable. The bridge is a joke. He is a joke.
Couldn’t agree more.
This bridge will never be fit for purpose. It’s an absolute joke, everything has been done on the cheap. Certain members of the Planning Department and the development company are all clearly members of the same masonic lodge. This whole farce needs to be investigated thoroughly by an independent auditor.