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TOO MUCH: Councillor against Transporter Bridge reopening

TOO MUCH: Councillor against Transporter Bridge reopening

Transporter Bridge, Image: Google Maps

A councillor has said that the Transporter Bridge would cost too much to run if it was fully reopened.

In a heated exchange with Cllr Barrie Cooper, the council’s executive member for environment, Cllr Ron Arundale said he was opposed to the bridge being restored to a full working condition because of the ‘enormous’ running costs.

During the full council meeting on October 20, Cllr Arundale, who represents Kader ward, asked what the purpose of the current repairs were to the 110-year-old landmark

Cllr Cooper, who is part of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association, responded: “It’s an important question because the Transporter means a lot to all of us.

Now, in December 2020, Middlesbrough Council and Stockton Council agreed to the spend of £650,000 to make urgent repairs…but that’s just to get it so it’s safe.

“Now, if everybody wants the bridge in a full working condition, personally I do, I think it’s iconic to our area and known all over the world, then we will have to spend more money on it.

“But of course, we can’t do anything until we get a full report in and bring it to Council for approval. That’s as far as we have got at the moment. They have made it safe and then we will get the full costings in and see what people think about it.”

However, Cllr Arundale, who is part of the Middlesbrough Independent Group, assumed this meant that Cllr Cooper thought everyone wanted to reopen it as a working bridge.

“Your assumption is that the bridge will be opened as a working bridge again? You can’t make that decision. Your answer tells me that that’s the case,” Cllr Arundale said.

Cllr Cooper interjected and said that wasn’t what he said and later stated that he was expressing a personal opinion.

Cllr Arundale went on to add: “I feel like, what’s happening here, is a decision has been made to have the bridge brought back into service as a working bridge, which is something I don’t want.

He went on to add: “You’re just throwing more money at a bridge that is completely outdated. Let’s keep it as a monument to our past, by all means, I don’t want to see it pulled down.

“But to bring it back as a working bridge is something I certainly don’t think the town can afford. The running costs of that are enormous, plus the initial outlay, it’ll be millions and millions of pounds.”

It is thought that around £3m will need to be spent on the bridge to maintain it over the next decade.

Construction workers were seen using safety ropes and carrying out repairs at the end of June this year.

 

Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter


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