York & North Yorkshire

Landowner 'blocks' temporary Tadcaster bridge plan

Bridge over River Wharfe at Tadcaster in North Yorkshire Image copyright Joe Giddens/PA
Image caption It is expected repairs to the bridge will take up to 12 months

Plans to replace a flood-hit bridge that split a Yorkshire town are being blocked by a landowner, an MP says.

The road bridge over the River Wharfe at Tadcaster partially collapsed last month and repairs could take a year.

Government flood envoy and Yorkshire MP Robert Goodwill said the landowner, Samuel Smiths Brewery, refused permission to build a temporary bridge to reconnect the town.

The brewery described the plan as "a waste of public money".

North Yorkshire County Council said it was concerned the brewery was objecting to the proposals.

'Irritating' decision

In a letter to the authority, the brewery said the bridge's collapse was due to poor maintenance and said when it was repaired it should be widened to improve access for pedestrians.

The company said it would be happy then to provide land as that would offer "better long-term value" for the community.

It added it was providing, at its own cost, a temporary pedestrian access to the old railway viaduct across the river. An aggregate path over the viaduct has already been installed by the county council.

Mr Goodwill said he was very "irritated" by the decision.

Conservative MP Robert Goodwill said: "It is vitally important that whilst they are mending the road bridge that we do have a temporary footbridge in place to ensure the town can continue to function.

"I do hope they [the landowner] will think again and let us get on with putting this temporary bridge in place."

'Badly needed'

Councillor Carl Les, for the authority, said it would pursue "every legal avenue" to build the footbridge in its preferred location, despite the landowner's objections.

He added: "We urge the brewery to reconsider... and allow the construction of the footbridge, which is so badly needed by residents and traders to reconnect the town."

The government said repairing the damaged 18th Century bridge was a "national priority" and has already granted £3m for its reconstruction.

It has offered a further £300,000 to pay for a temporary footbridge.

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