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Plans agreed to restore Grade II-listed tram road bridge

28 Jun 2023 3 minute read
An artist impression of the proposed works to the Iron Tram Bridge near Robertstown. Picture from RCT Council.

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

The reinstatement of a Grade II-listed tram road bridge in the Cynon Valley that was damaged during Storm Dennis has been given the green light.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee approved the plans for the Robertstown Iron Bridge in Trecynon at a meeting on Thursday, June 22.

The council has also received scheduled monument consent for the scheme, which will enable work to start on site in July. It is expected to be finished later this year.

The original bridge was built in in 1811 and manufactured by the Abernant Foundry. It carried the tramroad from Abernant across to the Trecynon area.

It now carries a public right of way over the River Cynon near the A4059 Meirion Street roundabout.

As well as being Grade II-listed, it is also a scheduled ancient monument.

Poor condition

The bridge is said to have been in poor condition before the damage caused by Storm Dennis in February 2020, and it was removed for safety reasons, testing and possible conservation and repair.

But after closer inspection, a specialist contractor found the bridge’s condition to be worse than expected.

It has been decided a hybrid structure would be the most appropriate long-term solution and the council said it will reinstate virtually all of the original structural elements, allowing them to be displayed as originally intended. Modern components will be used to guarantee longevity and preservation.

The original iron cast beams and deck plates will be reinstated. Three load-bearing structural frames will be added to transfer the deck away from the beams – painted black to match the original elements.

The beams will be repaired, along with the handrail bearing the maker’s mark.

The works also involve the installation of a free-standing collision protection beam upstream of the bridge to stop objects from hitting the bridge.

Heritage impact

The Heritage Impact Statement said the proposed hybrid structure is proposed as having a design life of 120 years to maximise longevity and safety.

In recommending approval, planning officers said in their report: “The development would promote access on foot and sustainable modes of

transport and would improve connectivity at this location. The development would also allow the sympathetic reinstatement of a bridge which is both Grade II listed and a scheduled ancient monument, preserving the character of the site and supporting heritage and tourism.

“The application is considered to comply with the relevant policies of the Local Development Plan, and the development is considered acceptable in terms of all other material planning considerations.”

There were no public letters of objection or representation received.

Councillor Sharon Rees, chair of the committee and councillor for the ward where the bridge is, said it has been sorely missed in the area.

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