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Newark and Sherwood District Council defer decision on Jubilee Bridge repair costs amid ongoing dispute with Nottinghamshire County Council about public adoption

A decision on improvements to pedestrian footbridge has been deferred amid concerns of rising costs and council disputes.

Last year Newark and Sherwood District Council commissioned a specialist consultant to survey the Jubilee Bridge in Newark and present detailed upgrade proposals to ensure a full and thorough refurbishment.

The bridge over the River Trent, which links Maltings Retail Park and Aldi to Waitrose and Newark Castle train station, was finished in the early 2000s and is approaching a point where the walkway surface is in need of replacement.

Jubilee Bridge over the River Trent.
Jubilee Bridge over the River Trent.

The council have now received the repair report which gave three options ranging in price, with cabinet debating the issue at its latest meeting.

Either replace the existing softwood deck boards with hardwood timber boards, which have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, at a cost of £321,000, or go with a longer lasting option at increased cost.

Both with a lifespan of 30 to 35 years, a mild steel deck covered with an anti-slip coating for £487,000, or steel trays infilled with Tarmac to match the existing bridge for £536,000 were presented.

Due to the rising cost of materials and labour overall the council was recommended to choose the cheapest option.

Rhona Holloway questioned the safety of the wooden boards in wet weather, believing they would become slippy under foot or for cyclists — officers said that safety factors would be taken into account.

An inspection on the bridge is due this May, with the work recommended to take place before then to ensure that is passes.

NANA LDR Jubilee Footbridge NewarkRepair costs for The Jubilee Footbridge have soared. Credit: LDRS
NANA LDR Jubilee Footbridge NewarkRepair costs for The Jubilee Footbridge have soared. Credit: LDRS

There is also a dispute about whose responsibility the bridge is, with the argument put forward that the river crossing should be adopted by Nottinghamshire County Council as a public right of way.

Paul Taylor said: “The approach to the bridge and the far side of the bridge are both county council responsibility, and it is only the bridge that is not.

“To me they should have taken it over 20 years ago — I’m staggered that they haven’t and they should be responsible for this repair now.

“Is this just another pothole issue for the county council where they fail to deliver?”

The council’s chief executive, John Robinson, said: “We take the view that the highway authority has a responsibility here.

“It wasn’t just in 2023 that we made an approach, it was made many years before that

“They previously resisted and we will make a case very strongly this time.

“Also they haven’t just asked for Newark and Sherwood to meet the cost of repair, but to provide some sort of dowry in return for adoption which is something we will resist.”

Council leader, Paul Peacock, said: “They want their cake and to eat it as well.

“But we need to press and resist this work until we fully understand what kind of specification the county council will accept to adopt.”

Other councillors signalled their discomfort with the current uncertainty surrounding the bridge’s responsibility and agreed with a deferral.

A decision on repairing the bridge was deferred to enable Newark and Sherwood District Council officers to establish the responsibilities of the county council in terms of adoption and future maintenance.

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