Cost of controversial bridge replacement plans already total £270,000

Save our bridge members campaigning on the bridge.

Essex County Council's plans to demolish Boxted Bridge led to backlash from campaign group, 'Save our Bridge.' - Credit: Lucinda de Jasay

The cost of the project to replace Boxted Bridge has already cost over £270,000, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Essex County Council believe that the bridge, which provides a crossing over the River Stour across the Suffolk/Essex border, needs to be demolished and replaced in a project believed to cost around the £1 million mark.

In planning documents Essex County Council say: "The proposed replacement of Boxted Bridge and associated highway improvements is a necessary development for the purposes of safety."

Essex Highways' visual representation of what the new Boxted Bridge would look like

Essex Highways' visual representation of what the new Boxted Bridge would look like. - Credit: Essex County Council

The plans led to campaign group 'Save Our Bridge' being formed, which has since been fighting to save Boxted Bridge from demolition.

A petition has been launched that has gained around 6,800 signatures.

'Save Our Bridge' said in a statement: "Using the Freedom of Information Act the Save Our Bridge Campaign has discovered the amount of money spent by ECC on Option Study/Feasibility on the bridge between 2017-2022 is a staggering £271,000 of taxpayer’s money. That is over half the estimate for repairing the bridge in 2018!

"Essex Highways are now strangely intent on spending a vast amount of undisclosed taxpayers’ money and closing the bridge for over a year. And yet for the last 29 years they have ignored it; 27 of those, allowing it to be used by HGVs, despite their own inspector’s three-ton recommended weight limit. And they argue: their ‘nuclear option’ is best because it’s safest." 

The project is currently in the application stage with reference (DC/22/00050), which can be found here.

A spokesperson for Essex highways said: “The cost so far includes staff time, subcontract and professional fees as well as the option study and outline design. The planning application is just one part of the feasibility stage.

"There are currently 13 documents in the planning application. One of these is the landscape assessment, which is one of many studies that include consideration of the bridge’s heritage. All documents related to Boxted Bridge, including FAQs are available here: https://www.essexhighways.org/boxted-bridge-wick-road-boxted-colchester.

Boxted Bridge in the snow

Boxted Bridge in the snow. - Credit: Lucinda de Jasay