Two new bridges to be built at Irchester heritage site

Visitors can expect to see works starting in early June

By Callum Faulds
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 1:20 pm
Chester House Estate, Wellingborough, Irchester,
Chester House Estate, Wellingborough, Irchester,

Work will soon begin to install two long-awaited pedestrian bridges over the River Nene at Chester House.

The work at the heritage site is being completed by KierWSP Northamptonshire Highways, working on behalf of North Northamptonshire Council.

Destroyed by arson years ago and closed to the public since 2015, designers from highways have been working with associated parties to agree the design of the two new metal structures that will complete the important links between Wellingborough, Irchester and Rushden at the site.

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One of the old wooden bridges on the River Nene

Chester House opened in 2021, but due to the nature of the site and the consents required for any change to the existing layout and structures it has taken some time to get to this point.

Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said: “We are delighted that we are now able to start the scheme to replace the two wooden bridges, with structures that will be in place for generations to come.

“The bridges have generated a lot of interest and are another part of our fascinating history at Chester House. We realise just how important it is to get the new structures in and open for all to use.”

Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of the council, said: “The Chester House Estate is such an important asset for North Northants, not just in representing the history of the area, but also as a wonderful destination in its own right.

“Ensuring it is connected by footway to the local area is a real bonus – not just in encouraging people to use alternatives to car transport, but also in being able to spend time in our beautiful countryside.”

Funded by the Department for Transport, the bridges are currently being manufactured and will arrive on site later in the summer.

Visitors will start to see works in early June as the team install a works compound and haul road which will have the capacity to carry heavy vehicles and plant.

The scheme is expected to take 12 weeks and, as soon as the work is safely completed, the bridge will open to the public.