New removal threat to classic GWR footbridge

COULD St Austell station’s landmark GWR Victorian footbridge be found a new home on a heritage railway?

That is the question being posted by St Austell councillor Tim Styles, who is welcoming Network Rail’s plans to move the Grade 2-listed bridge despite local opposition.

The classic GWR covered footbridge at St Austell station – might it be found a new home at a heritage venue? GEOF SHEPPARD/CREATIVE COMMONS

The covered cast-iron lattice footbridge was built after the GWR took over the section of the Cornwall Railway in 1877, and the date 1882 is stamped on the spandrels. At a glance, it is similar to the footbridge at Bodmin Parkway station, the southern terminus to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.

The bridge was saved from demolition four years ago after town councillors expressed concern to Network Rail about its deteriorating condition.

Network Rail submitted an application for listed building consent to remove and relocate the footbridge at the station in High Cross Street as part of a multi-million pound project to improve access.

However, the proposed removal of the bridge, which would have seen it relocated, came up against a wave of opposition from historians and residents alike.

Substantial harm

Planning permission was refused by Cornwall Council, which said: “The application, if approved, would result in substantial harm to a Grade 2-listed designated heritage asset, both through the direct loss of the footbridge and because this would leave the upside of the station building in isolation, resulting in the loss of the original Z shaped platform and the integrity of the historic station complex as a whole.”

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