Seven months after it was submitted, a planning application to delete plans for a footbridge over the Corve to Fishmore View has been formally approved. I don’t know what the delay was as we have known of the decision since the end of January. But it is good to have it confirmed in writing.
The officer report accompanying the decision gives full support to dropping the footbridge from the plans (16/04545/VAR). It questions the reasoning applied by the planning inspector who approved the housing scheme and is critical of his failure to consider the scale and visual impact of the bridge.
The officer report says that the developer, Shropshire Council and the inspector at the planning inquiry all agreed that the footbridge was not necessary for the housing development to be sustainable. The report continues:
Remarkably, [the inspector] did not appear to spend any time considering the design and scale of the engineering required to provide a usable bridge over the river, given the height differentials between the two banks, and its potential visual impact… A structure of the scale and height required to provide a usable gradient and to overcome the height differences between both sides of the river will most likely be visually harmful.
There is no direct route into the town centre from the bridge over the river, despite the Inspector’s view to the contrary. Fishmore View is part of a much larger residential development made up of culs-de-sac that terminate in ‘dead ends’ with no direct routes through to connect with other roads within the area. The route into the town centre is more convoluted than the direct route along Bromfield Road and is about the same distance (c.1.52km), a point not lost on local residents as set out in their comments on the current proposals. Despite what the Inspector said, it does not represent a convenient or more direct alternative [route to the town centre].
Given that the there is no local support for the bridge, that it has never been considered a necessity to make the development sustainable and, strangely, the design, scale and visual impact of such a prominent and significant structure was not considered by the Inspector, it is concluded that the application… should be approved…
The Council has already accepted that the bridge was not essential to make this development sustainable. A fact acknowledged by the Appellant and the Inspector at the inquiry. Nothing has changed in that respect.
The bridge will not make access to the town centre any more convenient compared with the other proposed means of access directly onto Bromfield Road.
There is no local support to provide the bridge and this, combined with the analysis of it benefits and likely adverse environmental impact on the character and appearance of the area leads to the conclusion that it should be omitted for the overall development.
Thank you everyone who wrote in support of the application to get the footbridge removed from the plans. Twenty-seven expressions of support were received, along with my own submission.
This scheme is finally well and truly dead. A new planning application would be needed to reinstate plans for the footbridge. That is not going to happen because the bridge would be very expensive to build and no developer is likely to want to shoulder the costs voluntarily.