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Issue 292 – New bridge plans may go on hold if Bailey is listed

DESPITE winning the support of the local planning authority, plans for a new bridge to replace Frome’s Bailey bridge are on hold until a government minister makes a final decision on whether the Bailey should be listed.

Mendip District Council has submitted a planning application for a new footbridge to replace the Bailey Bridge between Cork Street and Market Yard car park.
What will happen to the Bailey Bridge and what will replace it has been the hot topic in Frome over recent months. The bridge has been closed to vehicles for the past two years.
A planning application for a new footbridge to replace the Bailey received the backing of Mendip District Council at a meeting on Wednesday 13th January, on the condition that the bridge will not be listed.
Local man Reg Ling, who is campaigning to save the Bailey Bridge has been lobbying the government to have the bridge listed, which would see it remain in the town.
Debbie Holden, a spokesperson for English Heritage explained, “A decision was made on 26th October last year not to list the bridge but that decision is currently being reviewed by the government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Culture Media and Sport told the Frome Times, “We received the application for a review of the decision on 26th November. The outcome will hinge predominantly on whether or not the bridge can be considered an original Bailey, as the applicant is arguing.
“It is not quite as straightforward as these cases often are. We are actively working on the case and a decision is due to be made by a minister within the next few weeks.”
Reg Ling said, “The problem is, if Mendip District Council were to destroy this bridge it is not as if the government will be able to retrospectively list it.
“This is something for Frome to be proud of – it is a bit of history with tourist value.”

Calls for a vehicular replacement

Frome’s Civic Society is calling for a rethink on the plans to build a footbridge and wants a bridge which will carry vehicular traffic.
John Peverley, chair of the Frome Civic Society said, “The Civic Society strongly believes that Frome does need a replacement bridge that can carry vehicles accessing or exiting Mendip’s Market Yard car park.This would help to alleviate traffic congestion in the town centre Market Place and reduce the number of vehicles making the dangerous right turn into North Parade from the top of Bridge Street.
“The £200,000 allocated for the construction of the proposed footbridge should be deposited into an account where future funds can be accumulated to pay for the replacement of the present road bridge with a new road bridge, and not wasted on an unnecessary footbridge.”
A spokesperson for Mendip District Council said, “A decision was made that there wasn’t a need for a second highway access over the river Frome and also the affordability factor had to be taken into account.”

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