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Peter

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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2002, 11:22:48 PM »
I was at the meeting on the 24th and, yes, there was a TRO placed on the bridge. The Rights of Way officer,Geoff Funnell, explained that things were at a very difficult stage and that they had to be very careful how they proceeded. As I understood it the option of a ford/causeway seemed out of the question due to the seasonal difference in the level of the river. The most suitable site for another bridge to be constructed was further upstream but on private property so permission and costs would need to be looked at.
It would seem that this saga has a very long way to go yet!

Dave

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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2002, 03:57:44 PM »
As you say, Mark, it appears from the Council website that a permanent traffic regulation order has already been made, banning horses and bicycles from using the Roman Bridge.  Obviously it's good news that the Council is determined to protect the bridge.  What isn't clear to me is whether the Council will be required to build a second bridge or a causeway across the river, in the likely event that the Bridleways Association serves another Section 56 Notice. Can anyone else work this out?

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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2002, 05:43:52 PM »
The following report was considered at the last area committee meeting on 24 July 2002. I understand that the permanent traffic regulation order was approved, but the minutes are not yet available to confirm this.

To fully understand the current situation you really need to read the report below, the main points of which seem to be that the Bridleway Ass. have adjourned their court action for the time being, giving the Council time to make progress on a satisfactory solution and the Rights of Way Officer is investigating a couple of options.

The Bridleway Ass. is likely to reinstate their action if they are not satisfied with the progress being made. The report seems to considers the possible outcome of this action which is rather complicated. Read it and see for yourselves.

Incidentally, the report is available in the public domain at the council's web site in their searchable database, along with many other reports, agendas and minutes. It's a little tricky and time consuming to navigate, which is why I've pasted it here rather than send you searching for it.Click this link to take a look.

AGENDA ITEM No. 10
MARPLE AREA COMMITTEE                                    Date:  24 July 2002


PROPOSED TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER ON FOOTPATH 161
MARPLE AND PART OF FOOTPATH 160 MARPLE

Joint Report of the Chief Executive and the
Director of Environment and Economic Development


1.   PURPOSE OF THE REPORT

1.1   The report is being presented to update the Area Committee on this matter and to seek permission to make a permanent traffic regulation order.

2.   BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND RECENT DEVELOMENTS

2.1   A report was presented to the Marple Area Committee in July 2000 which detailed the proposal to make an order upgrading this route to a bridleway and consider the making of a traffic regulation order on this route. A public meeting was then arranged to decide both the matters further.  This Committee resolved to upgrade the route to the status of a bridleway.  The issue of a traffic regulation order was deferred pending the outcome of a Public Inquiry into the matter.
 
2.2   On 19 March 2001 the Council made an Order under Section 53(2)b of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to modify the Definitive Map and Statement for Stockport by upgrading footpath 161 Marple and part of footpath 160 Marple to a bridleway as shown on the plan attached at Appendix 1 .

2.3   The Order made by the Council was subject of a Public Local Inquiry which was held on 19 February 2002. In a decision letter dated 4 April 2002 the Inspector confirmed the Order subject to a minor amendment.  As a result of this confirmation footpath 161 Marple and part of footpath 160 Marple now have bridleway status.

2.4   Footpath 160 Marple crosses the River Goyt via a bridge, known as the Roman Bridge.  The Roman Bridge is a listed structure and is unsuitable for equestrian traffic, in the opinion of the Council’s Engineer. The Council, in order to protect persons using the route and the bridge itself has made a temporary traffic regulation order to prohibit bridleway traffic from using the bridge. The existing temporary traffic regulation order, which will expire on 7 October 2002.

2.5   On 7 May 2002 the Chairperson of the Stockport East Area Bridleway Association served a Notice under Section 56 of the Highways Act 1980 on the Council.  This Notice required the Council to state whether the bridge, which covers a distance of 16 metres, is a highway and whether the Council is liable to maintain it at public expense.  The Council has responded to this Notice by accepting responsibility in respect of the two matters raised therein.

2.6   As part of the Section 56 procedure a summons has now been issued against the Council to appear at Stockport Magistrates Court on 10 July 2002 to answer a complaint which seeks an Order requiring the Council to put the highway (the bridge) in proper repair within a reasonable time, i.e. make the highway suitable for carrying the traffic which may legally use it.  

2.7   Extensive discussions have taken place with Mr Edwards the Chairperson of Stockport East Area Bridleway Association, who has now agreed to adjourn the above mentioned Court hearing date until further notice.  However, Mr Edwards would like to see the Council progress this matter so that there is a satisfactory solution and will if necessary, reinstate his notice.  Therefore the need to respond to a Section 56 Notice is only temporarily abated and there remains a good possibility that the Council could be required in due course to suitably address this matter in Court.

3.   COMMENTS OF THE DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENT
AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

3.1   The Council's engineer is concerned about the stability of the structure should horse traffic use the bridge.  The bridge is of a single arch stone construction and the engineer states that if the single stone failed due to vibration from horse traffic loosening the mortar between the stones supporting the bridge, there would be catastrophic collapse.  In the engineer's opinion, this scenario is a real possibility.

3.2   If the bridge were made of a double arch stone construction his concern would not be as great as the failure of one arch could be supported by the other.

3.3   The engineer offered three options to enable equestrian traffic to cross the river:-

(a)   Construct an alternative river crossing (either a bridge or a causeway);

(b)   Rebuilding the current bridge using the original materials cosmetically.  The conservation officer has commented on these options at paragraphs 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 below;

©   Saddling the original bridge by putting a new bridge on top of the original.  However, this would involve laying another surface, and reinforcing the concrete arch and introducing vertical bars to suspend the existing stone arch from the bridge.  This would involve a major operation to the existing foundations and abutments and as soon as one begins to interfere with the bridge, its stability would be disturbed.  This third option would still result in the bridge being a different bridge, so is unlikely to be acceptable from a conservation viewpoint.

3.4   The engineer estimates that the cost of the above mentioned options would be as follows:

   Option (a)   Construction of a causeway would cost approximately £30,000, construction of a new bridge would cost approximately £60,000 plus compensation to landowners for alternative routes.

   Option (b) and ©   To either rebuild or to saddle the bridge would cost approximately £100,000.

3.5   The Council's conservation officer considers that options (b) and © to be wholly inappropriate solutions since they would have an unacceptable impact upon the character, appearance and historical value of the listed building.

3.6   Option (a) - to construct a new bridge nearby would adversely affect the setting of the existing listed structure and consequently the Council would be recommended to refuse planning permission.  

3.7   Option  (b) - to take down the old bridge and build a new one using some of the materials of the old one for cosmetic purposes - would have the effect of destroying the authenticity of the structure.  Also adequate railings for the protection of horses and riders could not be provided without     undermining the structural integrity of the bridge and such a change would prejudice the architectural integrity and heritage value of the bridge.

3.8   The Public Rights of Way Officer has serious concerns about the potential for conflict between users of the bridge, which is only 1.3 metres wide and, in his judgement, is too narrow for horses and pedestrians or horses and cyclists or cyclists and pedestrians to pass safely.  Further, the bridge abutments are only 1.1 metres high and inadequate to protect either a horse rider or a cyclist from the risk of falling into the river.  Visibility on the approach to the bridge is limited on both sides, and there is potential for conflict on either side of the bridge.  There is an area of rocky outcrop on the southern (Strines Road) side of the Bridge, which would require significant work to provide a suitable surface for horse traffic, (such works would affect the setting of the bridge.

3.9   The Secretary of State's guidance on maintenance of public rights of way states that any work done should harmonise with the general appearance and character of the surroundings and it is arguable that the work necessary to make the bridge satisfactory for equestrian and cycle use could not comply with that requirement, especially given the additional factor of it being a listed structure.  Strengthening work to the bridge would require listed building consent, which the Conservation Officer would oppose as the nature of the work would adversely affect the character, appearance and historic value of the bridge.

3.10   The Rights of Way Officer considers that a diversion of the bridleway may provide a possible solution to this problem.  The Rights of Way Officer is currently investigating the diversion suitability of the following routes:-

(a)   The first would leave bridleway 160 to the left of Lum Cottage and cross the River Goyt on a causeway – effectively a raised platform in the river, which would be suitable for cyclists and horse riders for most of the year.  However, it is not practicable to bridge the river at this location, as there is no space on the northern bank for a bridge abutment and this site is visible from Roman Bridge and would adversely affect the setting of the listed structure.
(b)   The second would leave bridleway 160 to the east of Lum House and would involve the creation of a new route across third party land and a bridge over the River Goyt.  

In neither case is it certain that the necessary permissions could be obtained.  These routes are illustrated on the plan attached at Appendix 1 to this report.  

4.   LEGAL POSITION

The Effect of Section 56 Order

4.1   As the Council acknowledges that the bridge forms a highway and that it is responsible for maintaining it the Court may make an Order requiring the Council to put the bridge in proper repair within a reasonable period of time. The Council would then, have an allocated period of time in which to put the bridge in proper repair.  If the Council fails to comply with the order, then the Court if it thinks fit, may extend the period for compliance.  If on the expiry of the compliance period the bridge is still not put into proper repair then the Court can make an Order authorising the complainant to carry out such works as are necessary and recover the costs incurred from the Council as a civil debt.

4.2   If the Section 56 Notice is reinstated the Council will endeavour to persuade the Court not to make an Order as it would be almost impossible to comply with.  This is because the bridge is a listed structure and therefore requires the necessary permission to carry out works for the demolition or alteration to the structure.     It will be pointed out to the Court that the Council is required under Regulation 13 of the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Regulation 1990 to make an application to the Secretary of State seeking his consent to carry out necessary works to the listed structure.  If the consent is withheld then, no alteration or demolition of the bridge can be carried out and in that event, the Council will not be able to comply with the Court order.  If this was to happen then the Court may make an order, which allows the complainant to carry out the necessary works.  The complainant in turn would also need to seek planning permission from the Council to undertake the necessary works and the Conservation Officer has indicated above that his consent is unlikely to be granted.  It therefore seems that the Court order can only be given effect if the Secretary of State was to grant the Council permission to either alter or demolish the Bridge.

4.3   It is to be noted that it is a criminal offence to carry out any works to a listed structure without first seeking the appropriate permission.

5.   Permanent TRO

5.1   If it is accepted that the Roman Bridge is to be preserved in its current state then it will be necessary to make a permanent traffic regulation order to ensure that no damage is caused to the bridge or to the persons using the bridge.  Such a traffic regulation order can be made under Section 1 of the Traffic Regulation Act 1984.  The Council may make a traffic regulation order on various grounds, including avoiding danger to persons or traffic using the road or preventing likelihood of such danger, preventing damage to a road or building on or near it, facilitating the passage of traffic and preserving or improving the amenities of the area.

5.2   The Council may make a traffic regulation order to prevent horse riding and cycling on the bridge if it is satisfied that there are sufficient grounds having taken into account the Director of Environment and Economic Development's concerns. It is considered that there are grounds available for making a traffic regulation order to prevent horse riding and cycling on the bridge itself.

6.   COSTS

6.1   The costs in respect of making a permanent TRO would be £250.00 and the cost of the necessary signs will be approximately £300.00 and would be met from the Public Rights of Way budget.

7.   CONCLUSION

7.1   The Roman Bridge bridleway presents a difficult situation, which has been further complicated by the fact that there remains a strong possibility that a Section 56 Notice may be reinstated against the Council.  It appears that the most immediate course of action required in order to protect the bridge and its users is to make a permanent traffic regulation order.
   
8.   RECOMMENDATIONS
 Â 
8.1   That the Committee authorise the making of a permanent TRO to prevent horse riders using the route A - B as shown on the attached map at Appendix 1.

BACKGROUND PAPERS

Committee Report dated 31 July 2000
Two reports dated 2 July 2001
The Metropolitan Borough Council of Stockport Definitive Map (Footpaths 160 and 161 Marple) (Modification) Order 2001

Anyone wishing to discuss the issue in further detail should telephone Mr R Khan on 0161-474-3318 or Mr Geoff Funnell on 0161 474 4850.

Alan

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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2002, 10:29:14 PM »
This topic seems to have gone earily quiet recently. Does anyone know anything new?

Dave

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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2002, 07:37:28 PM »
The temporary traffic regulation order has now appeared near the bridge, banning horses and bikes from it for 21 days from 17 April.  A map shows an alternative route via Strines.  However, no doubt some kind of arrangements will have to be made for them to cross the river near the Roman Bridge - but judging by the speed at which such things seem to happen round here (e.g. the restoration of the bridge in Brabyns Park, and the blue plaque on Marple Aqueduct) maybe it's another case of 'don't hold your breath'?

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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2002, 01:03:18 PM »
Presumably this is not the end of the saga. The council will now (if they haven’t already) place a temporary traffic order preventing the use of the bridge by horses on the basis of safety and potential damage to the bridge.

It would seem pointless from the Bridleways Association point of view to leave things like this and having established a right of way they must now be in a position to challenge the Council to provide the access to which they now have a right.

This will mean that the Council will have to provide a means for riders to use the bridleway and cross the river. Whether this involves changes to the bridge, a second bridge, or a ford as has been suggested, remains to be seen.

The report by the Inspector acknowledges that planning permission is unlikely to be granted to change the bridge. Hopefully this option will not even be considered, let alone applied for. If it is, it’s at this point that the community must rise up to protect this valuable asset.

As we learnt at the Council meeting last year, the fact that the route and the bridge in particular are not suitable to be used as a bridleway were not grounds for objection. It is interesting when reading the report to learn that what would have been a valid objection is if landowners had attempted to prevent access during the 20 year period of use that was the basis for the claim. If anyone knew about this, they appear to have kept it close to their chest.

Peter

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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2002, 11:49:14 AM »
I think that common sense said that this was always going to be the outcome. The Bridleway movement can now be satisfied that they have proved their case and won their right of way but to what avail and probably more importantly, at what cost to the taxpayer.

Dave

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2002, 01:32:18 PM »
The inspector's findings have now been announced, and, to no-one's surprise, the decision to reclassify as a bridleway the footpath from Strines Road to Strawberry Hill over the Roman Bridge has been upheld.  

The good news is that the report includes a clear reference to the fact that the bridge is 'an attractive and apparently sensitive structure', and that it is listed as of architectural or historic interest.  Stockport MBC, says the report, acknowledge that the use of the bridge by horses might seriously damage it, or necessitate works to the structure which would destroy its character. The Council accepts, it says,  that the bridge is not capable of carrying horse traffic and that it is unlikely that planning permission would be granted for it to be made so.  

So this just leaves the question of how horse-riders will  actually be able to make use of the right of way which they have now acquired. ?

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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2002, 11:08:26 AM »
Bridges seem to be a favourite topic in Marple. Is anyone able to give a report on what happened at the enquiry into the bridleway across the Roman Bridge on Tuesday 19th February at the Town Hall?