MP blasts Sam Smith's Brewery owner's 'refusal' to build footbridge in Tadcaster

Nigel Adams MP has blasted the decision by Samuel Smith's Old Brewery to 'refuse' permission for a temporary footbridge to be built across the Wharfe.

Monday, 11th January 2016, 4:22 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2016, 4:29 pm
Tadcaster's fallen bridge

On Sunday, January 10, the Government pledged £3.3m to re-build Tadcaster Bridge as well as provide a temporary footbridge while work is carried out.

However, the owner of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery, Humphrey Smith, is said to have emailed the county council saying the bridge does not represent good value.

Mr Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, has today, January 11, met with the government's Flood Envoy Robert Goodwill to explain the damage of the Boxing Day floods.

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Both Mr Adams and Mr Goodwill claim the brewery owner has decided to refuse a footbridge being built on his land for the Tadcaster residents.

Mr Adams said: "The decision by Samuel Smith's Old Brewery not to grant permission for a temporary footbridge across the Wharfe on their land adjacent to Sainsbury's is outrageous and completely contrary to the community spirit shown by town residents and businesses since the Boxing Day flooding.

"This morning I met with the government's Flood Envoy, Robert Goodwill MP in Tadcaster. He is of the same opinion as me that the Brewery owner should immediately reconsider his position and allow the construction of the footbridge, which is so badly needed by residents and traders to reconnect the town."

Both Mr Goodwill and North Yorkshire County Council had initially welcomed the announcement of a temporary footbridge after reports repairs to the bridge over the River Wharfe could take up to 12 months.

A pre-assembled temporary footbridge, built by a British firm, would give residents access to both sides of the river while construction of the main bridge is underway.

However, Mr Smith's decision would mean alternative positioning of the footbridge would have to be considered to ascertain its feasibility, given the size of the structure.

Mr Adams added: "Every legal avenue is being examined to see whether the initial desired location can still be utilised, despite the landowners unwillingness to cooperate.

"The government has acted speedily since Boxing Day to support flood victims, including the announcement of £3.3m funding for Tadcaster Bridge and a temporary footbridge.

"It is, in my view, an extraordinary decision for one individual to unilaterally decide that this assistance is not a good use of taxpayer's money. I'm sure that many people in the town will share that view."

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery said the proposed temporary footbridge would cost around £500,000 of tax-payers money and the scheme was a 'short-term PR based sound-bite'.

The company said: "The fault of the collapse of the 300-year-old Grade II listed stone bridge in Tadcaster lies squarely with North Yorkshire County Council. You failed to carry out your proper duties of maintenance.

"Our small brewery is in a position to achieve a temporary permissive pedestrian access on the east side of the viaduct well above the flood plain which would be useable not only for pedestrians but wheelchair and pushchair users. This work would be undertaken entirely at our cost.

"If NYCC in the restoration would widen the bridge sensitively as was done in the 19th century, preferably on the downstream side, by approximately one metre so as to achieve for the long term good pedestrian, disabled and pushchair width across the bridge as a whole, we would be happy to give any necessary land at the sides of the bridge that belongs to the brewery for that achievement.

"It would be far better long-term value for this community and future generations who live here if all such public monies as are available were invested in this way."