Tag: Ludford Bridge

On Friday, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport gave scheduled monument consent to repairs to Ludford Bridge, which was hit by a reversing tarmac truck on 21 February. This is an important step forward as it clears the way for repairs to begin. Historic England has waived the usual four week notice that is required before work on the bridge can commence.[1] This is of course good news. But I am still disappointed that it has taken a month to get this far. Shortly after the bridge was damaged, Shropshire Council was talking of repairs taking a few weeks. Now it is clear that this main route into Ludlow will be shut for months. That’s not good for a market town that relies on tourism and local trade.

It looks like Ludford Bridge, the main route into Ludlow from the south, will be closed until the end of April. Tonight’s update is based on information provided this afternoon by Shropshire Council’s consulting engineers, Mouchel. Bill Klemperer, principal inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, has validated the application for scheduled ancient monument consent for the repairs. The application is now awaiting approval by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The culture department is expected to rubber stamp the application. Work on the bridge cannot start before consent is granted, as that would be a criminal offence. With the help of Shropshire Council’s heritage team and local mason Paul Arrowsmith, three local stone suppliers have been identified and approved by Bill Klemperer. This gives us a choice of suppliers from within Shropshire.

Shropshire Council’s initial statements that Ludford Bridge will be closed for three to four weeks have proved to be over optimistic. The bridge has already been closed for more than a fortnight. It be another six or seven weeks before it reopens. All work on the bridge requires the consent of Historic England, the nation’s heritage guardian. An application for scheduled monument consent was made on 2 March. Historic England says it will process the application as quickly as it is able to. It is important that any stone used is a good match to that originally used for the bridge. Some will be recovered from the river but additional stone will need to be sourced from quarries. Stone samples have been obtained from Bridgnorth Green and Myddle Quarries in Baschurch, which are owned by Shropshire Stone. A decision on the stone source should be made this Thursday. That choice will need to be approved by Historic England.

Ludford Bridge was hit hard by a reversing truck last Sunday night and has been closed since. The truck, on its way to resurfacing works for a supermarket, had failed to get through the Broadgate. It’s not the first HGV to have been forced to reverse the length if Lower Broad Street. But the driver was well out of kilter and smashed into the bridge beside Walkmill and then drove off as through nothing had happened. The good news is that Shropshire Council’s highways team has identified the truck responsible and the council intends to pursue for all costs. Shropshire Council has this week instructed its design consultants Mouchel to proceed with repairs. The paperwork is not in place but the priority is to get the bridge repaired and open again. So far so good.

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