Council will lift weight limit at Cleveland Bridge following repair

Cleveland Bridge is a Georgian bridge of national heritage significance. You can find its Historic Listing here which describes Cleveland Bridge as “one of the finest late Georgian bridges in the Greek Revival style anywhere” and “among the most characteristic examples of a Greek Revival bridge in the country”.

A temporary weight limit has been placed on Cleveland Bridge since 3 February 2020 because of major structural defects in the bridge. The temporary weight limit had an instant beneficial effect on quality of life throughout the PERA area but especially on the main roads where the impact of reduced noise, vibration and pollution was dramatic even before lockdown further reduced traffic.  Areas to benefit include the main walking route to St Mary’s primary school, the school playground, and the playground in Sydney Gardens (where significant funding is being put into improvements), all of which are next to the A36.

Before the temporary weight limit, Cleveland Bridge carried about 1000 HGVs every day (Dept for Transport data for Bathwick Street).  Many residents of Bathwick Street and London Road commented on the relief at not being woken up in the early hours by multiple passing HGVs.  The alternative route for North-South long-distance traffic along the A350 is much better in many respects – it has fewer tall “canyon” streets prone to illegal air pollution and noise levels, it does not have the same prevalence of Listed buildings close to the road that cannot have modern insulation against noise and air pollution, the road is in general more suitable for larger vehicles, and it doesn’t pass through a World Heritage Site.

The Council is proposing to repair the Bridge and then to lift the weight limit. A Listed Buildings Application for the works was first submitted in December 2019. PERA objected that works particularly directed at allowing the Bridge to carry HGVs should not be permitted and any consent should be conditional upon a permanent weight limit on the Bridge being imposed (except for access).

The original application was withdrawn by the Council and replaced by a new application in June 2020.  We submitted fresh objections, updated to include evidence based on the experience of the temporary weight limit and lockdown. Not only is the long term future of the Bridge at risk, removal of heavy vehicle through traffic from the Bridge and its approach roads is long overdue.

You can find a copy of our objections here and comments from other members of the community can also be seen here on the BATHNES Planning Portal.

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