MPs wade into Wellingborough bridge row

The ‘unacceptable’ permanent closure of Wellingborough’s Irthlingborough Road bridge has been brought to the Government’s attention.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 5:00 am
The demolished bridge.

The bridge over the railway, linking the town to the Leyland Trading Estate, was demolished last year with a promise from Network Rail that it would re-open in April.

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Furious Wellingborough businesses demand answers over rail bridge

But in February they announced, under pressure from furious business owners, that it would not open at all. Instead, they said the near five mile diversion would remain in place until Route 4, a major Stanton Cross route, opened later this year.

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Peter Bone (left) and Tom Pursglove have expressed concerns.

A replacement bridge nearby will not be ready until mid-2020.

Now Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove, the MPs for Wellingborough and Corby respectively, have written to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling demanding to know how the closure became permanent without a consultation.

Mr Pursglove, whose constituency town of Irthlingborough has also been affected by the closure, said: “This is totally unacceptable as the Leyland Bridge is vital for the continuing economic success of the Leyland Industrial Estate.

Furious businesses say the closure is costing them customers.

“Not having a bridge cuts off the estate from easy access to Wellingborough.

“If no new bridge is built, then we can expect redundancies and business failures on the estate which is a key source of employment.”

He said they had been approached by businesses and employees demanding the situation is rectified.

The letter added: “We would therefore be grateful if you could explain to us how a bridge that was going to be replaced has suddenly become a permanent closure, without any consultation and as far as we can see, any legal process having been followed.”

Several businesses on the estate said the closure was costing them customers with some looking elsewhere.

When they announced that the bridge would remain closed with a new bridge opening in 2020, a Network Rail spokesman said: “Whilst we believe this is positive news that will benefit the area over the longer-term, we appreciate the disruption caused and we would like to thank motorists and neighbours for their patience whilst this work takes place.”