Preston bids for levelling up funding that would see Old Tram Bridge finally replaced

Preston City Council have submitted a bid for national government funding which would see the Old Tram Bridge finally replaced if granted.

By Sean Gleaves
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 5:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 5:06 pm

The 200-year-old bridge linking Avenham Park and Penwortham was closed in 2019 after an inspection found it was at risk of sudden collapse.

More than 3,000 people subsequently signed a petition calling on Preston City Council to bid for government funding to repair or replace the landmark.

The council later revealed the bridge would be part of a wish list of schemes that would see Preston’s four main parks improved as well as its walking and cycling infrastructure.

The Old Tram Bridge, originally built in 1802, spans the River Ribble in Preston

The bid – called ‘Active Preston’ – is for £20m of funding from the Round 2 Levelling Up Fund, with the proposed projects estimated to cost £24m in total.

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Coun Martyn Rawlinson, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council, said: “The bid that has been put together has been designed to ensure the best possible outcome for Preston and its residents.

“It will bring real opportunities and quality of life, health and well-being benefits.

The bridge was closed to pedestrians and cyclists after engineers declared it dangerous

“The proposals collectively could be transformational for our communities across the city, particularly for most of our more deprived communities.”

Proposals include a major community sports hub, with a new sports pavilion and pitches at Ashton Park and completion of a second phase of heritage restoration work at the Grade II* Moor Park including the lake and bridge works.

Further proposals include the development of a range of community and sports facilities at Waverley Park and accessibility and lighting improvements to support the re-opening of a building for community use at Grange Park.

Additionally, the bid will set out plans to create cycling corridors, running from east to west and north to south across the city.

“The investments will provide top class sports and recreation facilities for all our residents, but it will particularly benefit those communities where deprivation and poor health is highest, which are in close proximity to the parks,” Coun Martyn Rawlinson added.

“The focus is on encouraging healthy activity through sport, leisure and play, increasing the use of our wonderful parks, improved and new community facilities and making it easier for people to walk and cycle.”

The council hopes to hear if it has been successful in the autumn.