Essex Highways our intention is to dismantle the existing structure and replace the bridge with one built in the same location with a very similar look to the existing bridge.
It is proposed that the current width between the bridge walls will be maintained between new kerbs and a narrow hardened verge to offer some protection to the bridge parapets.
These proposals will lead to a bridge that will be up to 1.5 metres wider overall, but maintaining the same road width, so that the bridge continues to act as a traffic calming feature.
There are no plans to include a footway as part of the project.
This project is now due to commence June 2023 and the Parish Council are waiting further communication from Essex Highways following a meeting on Zoom (August 2022) click here to read the notes from this meeting.
Why are we sharing this information with you?
Finchingfield Bridge is historic, iconic and at the centre of an essential crossroads for the local economy. Essex Highways proposed to demolish and rebuild it, closing the route for up to a year. Essex Highways Department now fully accept that a temporary crossing is absolutely necessary if they continue to pursue their protracted programme of works to the bridge.
We as a business community are therefore disappointed and somewhat concerned that the Planning officer have concluded that the application for the inclusion of a temporary crossing is likely to be rejected.
"The Officers advised that the 'provision of a temporary bridge is not likely to be supported, in its propsed location, given the harms (or potential for harms) resulting solely from this"
If we just take a step back and just take into account that the small area around Finchingfield Green alone, provides employment for over a hundred people. As a group of business we know that closing the bridge for an extended period of time will mean closing our doors and laying off staff. Two year of Pandemic, Brexit, the cost of living crisis , energy bills soaring out of control and now a recession with this kind of blow at this will almost certainly mean that we will never reopen out doors again. We know from bitter experience that when Great Bardfield bridge was closed for 5 weeks (Summer 2022) our business fell by 50%. So this is why we are saying without a temporary bridge you will loss all of your services in Finchingfield during this work without a temporary bridge.
Finchingfield is still here today as a thriving village community because it is built on the most important crossroad within a 15miles radius. The businesses in Finchingfield have weathered the last few years of unprecedented economic hardship, to come out fighting, bruised and impoverished but still standing. There is no way we can survive more month upon month of closure with no support.
When we close for good, not only will we lose our livelihoods, and our employees their jobs, the community will lose its village shop and Post Office forever. The rural economy is fragile and genuine rural communities are dwindling where they are not protected. Rural village life, so quintessentially English, has always been seen as being worth fighting for and preserving, yet this whole project puts the most' chocolate-box' of English village in totally jeopardy with a beguiling sense of indifference.
We would like your support, how you ask? The communication from Essex Highways (No 3) in August was Planning Permission was due to be submitted in September. However we have checked the portal daily and it has not happened yet. Why? We don't know and there is no community from Essex Highways since August 2022. When the application does appear we would like you to vote with your figures for a temporary bridge by click onto the portal (link will appear here)
Here is a link to letter template you can use and all you need to do is add your name (Download letter here)
If you have any further questions please drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Alex and Jane at Post Office, Mary at Wonky Wheel Gallery or Jacquie at the Finchingfield Lion.