Rodley: New swing bridge closed – 24 hours ahead of crunch planning application debate

The new Moss Lane Bridge in Rodley leads to the proposed development.

By John Baron

A swing bridge which would lead to a proposed new housing development in Rodley is closed today – just 24 hours before councillors decide whether or not 67 houses should be built on the site.

There have been ongoing concerns over the reliability of the newly-installed Moss Bridge, which is the only link over the Leeds Liverpool Canal to the Airedale Mills development site.

Opponents to the housing proposals have previously said the unreliability of the bridge, which has had issues with it becoming stuck, could lead to emergency services struggling to access any new houses.

Today, the Canal and River Trust warned canal boat users that the bridge was closed – and blamed vandalism for the problems.

In a full statement on their website, they said: “Moss Swing Bridge is closed due to vandalism of the gearing mechanism. 

“The Rodley Bridge Management Company are sourcing a new gearbox and will be installing it as soon as possible. 

“The bridge will remain closed to all navigation traffic until the installation is complete.” 

Members of the south and west plans panel tomorrow (Thursday) will debate the controversial plans after deferring a decision in February amid a number of concerns over the proposals.

Council planning officers are recommending councillors approve the proposals in principle and defer final approval to the chief planning officer, subject to planning conditions – including affordable housing of 10 units and off-site greenspace enhancements of £50,000 – being signed off with the applicant.

News of the latest breakdown of the bridge has been met with cynicism on social media.

One person posted: “A cop out to call it vandalism. More likely accidental damage due to the complexity of operation.”

Another added: “The worrying thing is that it will put off boats passing through Rodley. Word will spread that the bridge is difficult or out of action. This will have a knock on effect to businesses in Rodley.”

The Airedale Mills site in Rodley.

Background to the plans

Detailed proposals for 67 new build to rent homes were first submitted in December 2021 by Casa By Moda (part of construction giants Caddick).

Council planning officers are recommending that councillors on the south and west plans panel approve the plans in principle and defer planning conditions – including affordable housing of 10 units and off-site greenspace enhancements of £50,000 – to the chief planning officer for final approval.

The principle of the development – called the outline stage – and a new swing bridge to the site were approved two years ago, and the bridge opened in January. 

But the plans have been met with 214 objections, with concerns including the visual impact of the development, ‘poor’ deign of the properties and concerns over access and parking.

Other objections include impacts upon highway safety, appearance and design, impact upon the community, ecology considerations and disruption to the access of Rodley Nature Reserve and Rodley Cricket Club.

Plans south and west meets on Thursday, 8 June, at 1.30pm in Leeds Civic Hall. The agenda and reports can be read in full here.


  1. This bridge is not fit for purpose. There are so many issues that need to be redesigned.
    1, remove raised pavement. Trucks will be running over the pavement. From the photo car tyres will be damaged on the metal edge.
    2, controls panel is unnecessary complex and needs to be simplified
    3, unlocking a separate key to operate the bridge is probably unique and should be scrapped as it will get lost or damaged
    4, frist wheel has to be turned far too many times to unlock the bridge and needs modification.
    5, vertical lock pin near second wheel is inadequate and needs to be redesign.
    6, second wheel is heavy to turn and takes far too many turns to open this bridge.
    7, both wheels are too small. They would be better with spokes more like a ships wheel making it easier to move when wet.
    8, good swing bridge designs are normally operated from just one or two positions. This one needs you to stand in at least three different positions.
    9, suggested time to operate the bridge is nearly 8 minutes. (If you are very lucky). Single handed boaters will take much longer. There will be arguments between boaters and residents as once started, boats have right of way, appointments / buses etc will be missed.
    9, if the new houses are approved the problems with


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