Days before Jenson Button is due to return to his hometown of Frome, the town’s new bridge, to be named after the F1 champion, has cleared the planning hurdles.
It is planned that the new bridge will replace the current Bailey Bridge but this depends on whether or not the Bailey Bridge will be listed.
Mendip District Council’s planning department approved plans for the new bridge at a meeting held on Wednesday 14th April.
A design statement by Mark Lovell Design Engineers, who have put the plans together says, “The project has developed over a large and extended timescale with a close working team including the district council and the town council. A steady flow of information and consultation has allowed a careful consideration of the large number of parameters and aspirations for the scheme.
“The general feeling seems to support a bridge that has a character and presence and yet a tactile nature on the human scale. A general structural bridge form in a single-masted, cable-stayed design has gained overwhelming support.
“In addition, the use of exposed weathering steel and metalworking in general was well received as a reflection of the town’s industrial and creative heritage.”
Frome Town Council has decided to name the new bridge after Frome’s own Jenson Button, who is due to visit the town on 4th May.
Bailey Bridge to be listed?
Meanwhile, the future of the Bailey Bridge remains uncertain.
A decision was made by English Heritage 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 Frome Times, “The bridge is not currently listed but is subject to a review as the evidence that was originally used to decide that it would not be listed was appealed against.
“We are aware that it is of considerable local interest and a decision should be taken shortly after the election has taken place.”
Back in January, Frome Times reported on the Civic Society calling for a rethink on the plans, which do not cater for 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.”