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Author Topic: Is Highways England the best guardian for rail heritage and dormant resource?  (Read 4031 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2021, 06:24:41 pm »

But do you need planning permission to infill a bridge? I doubt it, unless it was listed by English Heritage.

As I read it, they do need planning permission ... see road.cc which reports
Quote
Highways England says that the bridges concerned are among 200 to have failed an engineering assessment to carry 44-tonne lorries and, in the absence of weight restrictions, will have to be infilled or demolished on “urgent safety grounds” to “prevent an emergency arising.”
and that Highways England have emergency powers.  It is suggested in the article that those emergency powers are being abused in many cases, as the bridges in question are on narrow lanes that a 44 tonner couldn't get down anyway.
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stuving
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2021, 07:37:32 pm »

The current rules are in the famous Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. Section 3 contains a number of special cases, none of which AFAICS (As Far As I Can See) is relevant here. The list of permitted developments for transport is in Schedule 2, part 8, of which this is the railways bit:
Quote
Class A – railway or light railway undertakings

Permitted development

A.  Development by railway undertakers on their operational land, required in connection with the movement of traffic by rail.

Development not permitted

A.1  Development is not permitted by Class A if it consists of or includes—

(a)the construction of a railway;
(b)the construction or erection of a hotel, railway station or bridge; or
(c)the construction or erection otherwise than wholly within a railway station of—
   (i)an office, residential or educational building, or a building used for an industrial process, or
   (ii)a car park, shop, restaurant, garage, petrol filling station or other building or structure provided under transport legislation.

Interpretation of Class A

A.2  For the purposes of Class A, references to the construction or erection of any building or structure include references to the reconstruction or alteration of a building or structure where its design or external appearance would be materially affected.

That's regulations, so must be done under some statute, in this case the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. That enables the orders, so does not itself permit the developments in those orders. I can't see any relevant previous statutes in the list of revocations, which is odd (but it is all long and complicated enough for all manner of nasties to be hiding in it).

Looking from the other end, most railways acquired their original rights by citing the ]Railways Clauses Consolidation Act 1845[/i]. As its title implies, that bundled together all the clauses found necessary in previous individual railway acts. To my surprise that is still on www.legislation.gov.uk, so some part of it must be still in force. It's hard to say which parts, since the project to incorporate revisions into these statutes is working backwards and hasn't been completed this far back. In fact, I'm impressed that they claim to have listed all the revising acts with the text - not long ago few of these old acts had even been started on.

HE's development rights where they own the bridge and the ex-railway land under it are likely to be covered under roads, of course. That's part 9:
Quote
Development relating to roads

Class A – development by highways authorities

Permitted development

A.  The carrying out by a highway authority—

(a)on land within the boundaries of a road, of any works required for the maintenance or improvement of the road, where such works involve development by virtue of section 55(2)(b) F177 of the Act; or
(b)on land outside but adjoining the boundary of an existing highway of works required for or incidental to the maintenance or improvement of the highway.

Class B – development by the Secretary of State or a strategic highways company under the Highways Act 1980

Permitted development

B.  The carrying out by the Secretary of State or a strategic highways company of works in exercise of the functions of the Secretary of State or the company under the Highways Act 1980 F178, or works in connection with, or incidental to, the exercise of those functions.

Interpretation of Class B

B.1  For the purposes of Class B, “strategic highways company” means a company for the time being appointed under Part 1 of the Infrastructure Act 2015 F179.

Class C – tramway or road transport undertakings
...
Class D – toll road facilities
...
(See the full text for revisions information.)

Presumably HE is in one or other of those two categories.
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2021, 10:43:08 pm »

But do you need planning permission to infill a bridge? I doubt it, unless it was listed by English Heritage.
Quote
Highways England says that the bridges concerned are among 200 to have failed an engineering assessment to carry 44-tonne lorries and, in the absence of weight restrictions, will have to be infilled or demolished on “urgent safety grounds” to “prevent an emergency arising.”
and that Highways England have emergency powers.


There are examples where urgent safety ground are being invoked in this video:
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2021, 12:09:00 am »

Nice if they could get on with the ex railway bridge that takes the A35 over another road...
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2021, 09:53:43 am »

From The Guardian

Quote
The government’s roads agency could be forced to remove hundreds of tonnes of concrete it used to fill in a Victorian railway arch in a project that was condemned as the first act of “cultural vandalism” in a nationwide plan.

Eden district council told Highways England (HE) this week that it needs to apply for retrospective planning permission for a scheme that involved pouring an estimated 1,000 tonnes of concrete and aggregate under the bridge at Great Musgrave, Cumbria, at the start of nationwide programme to infill scores of historic structures.

If planning is refused, the agency will be obliged to restore the bridge to its state before the infill began at the end of May.
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stuving
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« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2021, 10:41:58 am »

From The Guardian

Quote
The government’s roads agency could be forced to remove hundreds of tonnes of concrete it used to fill in a Victorian railway arch in a project that was condemned as the first act of “cultural vandalism” in a nationwide plan.

Eden district council told Highways England (HE) this week that it needs to apply for retrospective planning permission for a scheme that involved pouring an estimated 1,000 tonnes of concrete and aggregate under the bridge at Great Musgrave, Cumbria, at the start of nationwide programme to infill scores of historic structures.

If planning is refused, the agency will be obliged to restore the bridge to its state before the infill began at the end of May.

This was (part of) EDC's last media statement, (6th June):
Quote
In relation to whether these works require planning permission, it is important to note that Highways England do have permitted development rights to carry out certain works, without the need for the prior grant of planning permission. These rights would be covered in Part 9 and Part 19 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Eden District Council’s Planning Service has opened a dialogue with Highways England to understand the full extent, nature and reasoning for the proposed works at Great Musgrave, to ascertain whether the works do fall within Permitted Development Rights.

This is an ongoing matter and discussions have not yet concluded.

Once sufficient information has been provided by Highways England, the Planning Service will be able to judge whether these works do constitute a Permitted Development, or if they require the prior granting of planning permission. This information will inform what action, if any, can be taken in relation to these works.

Since this will hinge on legal definitions - such as whether infilling a bridge is building or demolition, and whether its result has a "design" - I presume EDC has taken legal advice. Whether they want to fund a test case is another matter, though of course they might have a whip-round for it. There's more background in the Guardian.
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ellendune
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2021, 02:57:22 pm »

From New Civil Engineer

The council states that:
Quote
“Whilst the provisions allow initial works to be undertaken in connection with an emergency, where such works are intended to be retained, retrospective planning permission must be sought. […] The Council’s acceptance of Highways England’s Permitted Development Rights does not constitute permission for the infilling to be retained. Planning processes will be followed and due consideration given to any future application in respect of the infilling of Great Musgrave Bridge.”
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grahame
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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2021, 08:59:37 pm »

From The Guardian

Quote
Victorian railway bridges that were due to be filled in with concrete in an act previously decried as “cultural vandalism” will be repurposed as part of a scheme to encourage walking and cycling, the UK (United Kingdom) transport secretary has announced.

The government is halting the demolition of historic train lines in the hope that they can be remodelled as routes which encourage greener means of travel.

Grant Shapps unveiled the summer of cycling and walking strategy on Friday, which proposed to improve related infrastructure around the UK – supported by a £338m budget.

It comes after a Highways England decision to pour concrete in a railway arch provoked anger from local residents, with the government-owned firm being told it may have to reverse the move.
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stuving
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2021, 10:39:55 pm »

From The Guardian

Quote
Victorian railway bridges that were due to be filled in with concrete in an act previously decried as “cultural vandalism” will be repurposed as part of a scheme to encourage walking and cycling, the UK (United Kingdom) transport secretary has announced.

The government is halting the demolition of historic train lines in the hope that they can be remodelled as routes which encourage greener means of travel.

Grant Shapps unveiled the summer of cycling and walking strategy on Friday, which proposed to improve related infrastructure around the UK – supported by a £338m budget.

It comes after a Highways England decision to pour concrete in a railway arch provoked anger from local residents, with the government-owned firm being told it may have to reverse the move.

That appears to be based on the day before yesterday's pre-announcement, as I can't find it in Grant Shapps's actual announcement of yesterday. Of course the timescale from Boris deciding this on Wednesday hardly allowed for its inclusion. As has become usual, the announced policy document - "the Summer of Cycling and Walking document published today" - hasn't been published yet. Presumably it will appear in a day or two, linked to so it appears to have been published today. Until then, we have just this:
Quote
Other key measures included in the Summer of Cycling and Walking include plans to publish a new road safety strategic framework and commitments to help train hundreds of new Bikeability instructors and explore how historic railway structures can be converted into cycle routes.

The government has also announced today that the new Active Travel England (ATE) commissioning body, which will hold the national cycling and walking budget, will begin work later this year.

Maybe this ATE will fund HE to not take the cheap option with currently redundant highways bridges over potential cycle paths, though there is no such link implied in the text.

Correction to dates
« Last Edit: July 31, 2021, 10:55:11 pm by stuving » Logged
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