IWA West Country Branch is increasing its campaign for the regeneration of Bridgwater Docks and in particular for the restoration of the Barge Lock and the Bascule Bridge in order that navigation can once again take place from the River Parrett to Bridgwater Docks and thus also to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.
Bridgwater Docks, but not the Bascule Bridge, is leased by Canal & River Trust from Somerset County Council under a 21-year lease which expires in July 2020. The lease includes, inter alia, obligations for CRT to maintain the Docks including its lock gates, fixtures and fittings in a fully usable condition. IWA is campaigning for the future of the Docks to be addressed and for CRT to fulfil its obligations under the lease, including restoration of both the Barge Lock and Newtown Lock.
IWA is also campaigning for the regeneration of the Bascule Bridge, a unique heritage asset within Somerset that was opened in 1841 in conjunction with the Docks. The Association has drawn the attention of Somerset County Council to the damaging effect that heavy goods vehicles are having on the spans of the bridge and on its stone and brick supports (there is a 3-tonne weight limit). The Council is arranging for a specialist engineering inspection of the bridge, as a first step in determining what remedial works are required. IWA has requested that the inspection also covers the work that may be needed to fully reinstate the operation of the spans of the bridge, which it is understood were last raised some 15 years ago.
For news from the South West & South Wales Region, take a look at the Regional Newsletter Sou'Wester.