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News Archive > General > Hundreds sign petition to save old railway bridge

Hundreds sign petition to save old railway bridge

By Adele Moore 2nd August 2017

Hundreds sign petition to save old railway bridge
Sandra Heyward at the bridge.

RESIDENTS of St Austell are battling again to save the county’s only footbridge of its kind, which is facing a fight for survival.

Almost 500 people have signed a petition on the campaign site 38 Degrees, calling for urgent action to save the 1882, Grade II-listed footbridge at  the railway station.

Network Rail owns the bridge and has a responsibility to look after it. But the organisation is trying for a second time to de-list the structure, which would see it lose its protected status.

The Voice reported in 2013 how Network Rail had failed to get listed building permission from Cornwall Council to de-list the structure and move it away from the site, amid a barrage of opposition.

In the event that owners of listed structures fail to maintain historic structures, Cornwall Council is responsible for taking out enforcement action. But a spokesman said: “The council is aware of the concerns regarding the condition of the footbridge but, as investigations are ongoing, we are unable to comment any further at this point in time.”

Now people are calling on both Cornwall Council and Network Rail to take action.

Campaigner Nicholas Storey, who is a former member of St Austell Civic Society, set up the petition in which he calls for the council to re-think its decision not to take enforcement action.

Meanwhile, St Austell MP Steve Double and Cornwall councillor for Gover, Sandra Heyward, are calling on Network Rail to take proactive action to restore the bridge.

The petition says: “These Grade II listed structures are in a state of perilous neglect. It is in the public interest that, as listed structures of historical significance, and as local landmarks, they are preserved.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “In 2014 we invested £500,000 with Cornwall Council to replace the existing footbridge with a new fully accessible bridge for all passengers to have access to both platforms. It was always our intention to carefully remove the existing bridge and find a long term home for it where it can properly be maintained in a suitable setting. 

We are currently working on this whilst making sure it is remains structurally safe.”

Focusing on Network Rail, Steve Double said: “Having lived in St Austell all of my life this bridge is to me an iconic part of the town. It is the first thing travellers by rail see when they come to our town and it is such a shame that National Rail have let it deteriorate to its current state. This bridge is listed for a reason. It is part of St Austell’s heritage and its loss would see another part of our town’s history gone.

“I call upon National Rail to do the right thing and restore the bridge for passengers to use instead of letting it rot away.

“If National Rail will not change their mind, then I will happily work with local residents and councillors to find a way of come to a solution where the bridge will be saved and restored for future generations.”

By Adele Moore 2nd August 2017

Ian Kestle 6th August 2017 16:05
I absolutely agree that this iconic GWR bridge must be restored and preserved. One of the GWR logos already seems to have been removed, who has that?
Moonchild 9th August 2017 14:51
We need to stop the destruction of historical places in this town. There is zero respect for any of it, due to greed and backhanders. I am shocked that they wish to tear apart this beautiful railway bridge. It´s appalling! All in the name of "modernisation".
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