Jan 23 - A planning application has now been made. Please make your views known by adding a comment on the ECC planning portal using this link
Essex Highways 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 - An online meeting between ECC and Finchingfield PC took place in 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 propose 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 Officers 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"
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 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 five 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 an important crossroads within a 15 mile 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.
If we close for good, not only will we lose our livelihoods, and our employees their jobs, the community will lose its village shops, three pubs, tea rooms 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? As of January 2023 a Planning Application has now been made. Whilst we remain dubious about the reasons to replace the bridge, it seems likely to now happen. Therefore the next best thing is to ensure Finchingfield gets a temporary bridge whilst the works take place.
Please make your views known by adding a comment on the ECC planning portal using this link -
If you have any further questions please drop us an email email@example.com or speak to Alex and Jane at Finchingfield Post Office, Mary at Wonky Wheel Gallery or Jacqui at The Finchingfield Lion.
Thank you for your support.