Video: Temporary Tadcaster footbridge plan could be at risk

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Plans for a temporary footbridge to unite the two halves of flood-hit Tadcaster could be in jeopardy after Yorkshire’s oldest brewery refused permission for it to be built, according to the town’s MP.

Nigel Adams, the MP for Selby and Ainsty, claimed the Tadcaster-based Samuel Smith brewery refused permission for the footbridge to be on its land because “it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money”. The town has been divided in two since parts of the masonry on its 300-year-old bridge collapsed into the River Wharfe on December 29, following the Boxing Day floods.

Robert Goodwill MP visited Tadcaster yesterday and was shown damage to the bridge by Nigel Adams MP.

Robert Goodwill MP visited Tadcaster yesterday and was shown damage to the bridge by Nigel Adams MP.

The Ministerial Flood Recovery Envoy for Yorkshire, Robert Goodwill announced at the weekend that a £3.3m grant to rebuild the bridge has been approved, which includes plans for the temporary footbridge to be constructed.

But those plans are now in danger after the brewery’s refusal, according to Mr Adams. He said the plans were for part of the bridge to be on wasteland near the Sainsburys in the town, and that the firm’s refusal was “outrageous”.

He added: “It shouldn’t be for one individual to decide where the footbridge goes.”

He claimed that the brewery responded after he was sent a draft agreement between the landowner and North Yorkshire County Council about the bridge. The proposed site is the one favoured most by engineers.

Mr Adams added that alternative bridge sites are being examined, as well as the possibility of legal options. In its refusal letter to the council, the brewery said the proposed bridge was “most wasteful proposed public expenditure, a typical short-term PR based sound-bite from central and local government”.

It alleged the bridge’s collapse was the fault of the council for not maintaining it properly, and that the brewery is in a position to provide a footbridge itself, at no cost to the taxpayer.