GWR Electrification…..Good News?

The Trust is pleased that the two listed building  applications for alterations to listed bridges in B&NES  (Pixash Bridge and Clay Lane bridge) have been withdrawn. We had OBJECTED to these applications on the grounds that the solutions were overly interventionist, causing substantial and irreversible harm; that they did not represent an appropriate solution for these or the other listed overbridges through the World Heritage Site; and that we believed there were alternative solutions which would be less harmful and possibly more cost-effective. You can read the text of our objection to both bridges here: BPT Pixash Lane Bridge 030915 The withdrawal of the applications is substantially due to the campaigning efforts of Bath Preservation Trust and our encouragement of other third parties, and also involved close collaborative working with B&NES officers and Historic England. We are very grateful for all the external support.

Network Rail will present new designs to a stakeholder working group in late October. We hope we can be more confident of supporting these solutions and we recognise that Network Rail are now making considerable efforts to take on board the concerns of the Trust.

It is important to note that Bath Preservation Trust  recognises that there will still be some inevitable intrusions and interventions, particularly the overhead line equipment and an element of safety modification. Our aim throughout is to ensure that these are wherever possible reversible interventions so that when the next phase of change occurs to the railways, the original design concept of IK Brunel 175 years ago may largely be seen and enjoyed as originally conceived.

See a little of the history of the campaign in the historical posts below…….

Posted on 4 August 2015

Network Rail -Electrification.      Good progress on Sydney Gardens

The latest stakeholder group meeting with Network Rail was shown much improved designs for Sydney Gardens. These included designs for the two overbridges and the low balustrade in the Garden. The designs retain their visual character as well as minimise the loss of historic material – with essentially reversible changes. We are pleased to see this progress which should be on display at the regular Network Rail fortnightly public sessions on 4 and 18 August, and 8 September, at the Guildhall.

We are, however, still very concerned that the solution for the many other listed overbridges in Bath still involves irreversible intervention to the historic fabric and the visual appearance of these Brunel-designed structures. We hope that Network Rail will – at this late stage – still see the benefit of finding a less intervenionist solution which we can support.

Sydney Gardens – Stone Overbridge August 15 design

Posted on 1 June 2015

The first stage of works to permit electrification of the Great Western Railway as it passes through Bath is scheduled for summer 2015. Bath Preservation Trust is concerned that full details about the treatment of the listed structures and the visual appearance of the changes have not yet been put in the public domain. We believe there should be a public presentation on the treatment of the whole of the World Heritage Site before any listed building consents are sought or granted for the works. More (but not enough) details can be found on Network rail’s website:  http://www.networkrail.co.uk/great-western-route-modernisation/banes/

In more detail, we would like to see the following:

· There needs to be a holistic solution across the whole World Heritage Site before piecemeal listed building consents are looked at:

· The loss of historic form and fabric for the bridge parapets constitute substantial harm, and we need to be convinced that there are not less intrusive solutions:

· The gantry works need to be the most elegant feasible (‘T structures would be preferable to ‘H’ Structures) Perhaps the design finalists for HS2 could be showcased in Bath?

· While every effort should be put on getting Sydney Gardens right, this should not be at the expense of the rest of the WHS.

· The state of repair of the Listed structures and ancillary railway buildings (such as Twerton Workers’ cottages) is poor and their repair and restoration should form part of the works

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