Finchingfield Bridge, B1053, Finchingfield
Works location and photos
An outline of our proposed future plans for Finchingfield Bridge in Finchingfield.
The current position
Finchingfield Bridge carries the B1053 over the village pond. It is an old bridge, approximately 200 years old in a deteriorating condition that needs to be dismantled and rebuilt.
Following some initial proposals shared by Essex Highways in 2016, new design options have been explored in discussion with Finchingfield Parish Council, Braintree District Councillors and County Members.
Together, we aim to deliver a scheme that safeguards the bridge crossing for the future as well as protecting iconic views of the village. Key stakeholder groups will be invited to engage with us to help build plans to ensure that, if works go ahead, disruption is minimised.
Any scheme proposal will be subject to developing a detailed works programme, and to meeting the usual planning consents and other legal obligations.
The Parish Council and District and County Councillors agreed that Essex Highways should start the necessary site investigations in order for a replacement bridge to be built. These site surveys were carried out in February 2019 to inform future detailed design work to progress a future scheme.
Our future intention is to dismantle the existing structure and replace the bridge with one built in the same location with a very similar look to the existing bridge.
It is proposed the current width between the bridge walls will be maintained between new kerbs and a narrow hardened verge to offer some protection to the bridge parapets. These proposals will lead to a bridge that will be up to 1.5 metres wider overall, but maintaining the same road width, so that the bridge continues to act as a traffic calming feature.
There are no plans to include a footway as part of the scheme.
In September 2020 we released our current plans for Finchingfield Bridge on our dedicated ‘Future plans for Finchingfield Bridge’ webpage.
Included is a short visual demonstration and images of how we envisage the proposed bridge will look once constructed. Drawings of the existing bridge along with the proposed structure have been included along with a summary of some of the technical aspects of our proposals including material choices, dimensions, estimated timelines and a series of questions and answers.
Also included is a proposed temporary vehicle crossing road layout as we continue to explore the option of a temporary crossing with Finchingfield Parish Council.
Our plans will be subject to necessary legal permissions and obligations being met and planning permission being granted. We will continue to work with Finchingfield Parish Council throughout this process.
On site investigations completed February 2019
Structures engineers successfully completed investigation works during a five day closure of Finchingfield Bridge during the February school holiday to provide additional important data to enable us to progress a new bridge design.
Trial hole investigations completed October 2019
Trial hole investigations were carried out in late October 2019 to determine the precise location and depth of utility services in and around Finchingfield's village green. The purpose of the works was to support investigations into the feasibility of installing a temporary bridge for future reconstruction work at Finchingfield Bridge.
These investigations have shown that it is technically feasible to install a temporary bridge across the village green. We continue to explore this as an option with Finchingfield Parish Council in order to bring us closer to this as a potential outcome.
In order for Essex Highways to move the project forward, various planning approvals will be required for both the permanent structure, the temporary structure and for use of the village green areas and for activities next to listed buildings. In addition, Essex Highways will need to obtain all the necessary consents associated with any proposed works.
Essential bridge parapet repairs completed August 2020
Essential repairs and reconstruction of the northern parapet were carried out to Finchingfield Bridge during August 2020. These works were considered as an interim measure, intended to preserve the bridge’s continued safe use.
Investigations were also carried out during the road closure to support the design of a new replacement structure.
The bridge reopened to traffic on Wednesday 26 August 2020 ahead.
Current activities and progress made 2021
We continue to undertake the necessary studies and investigations to bring us closer to being able to carry future works at Finchingfield Bridge. This also includes engaging with the Parish Council and seeking all the necessary permissions needed.
These activities remain ongoing as outlined below:
We are continuing to engage with the Planning department and a number of consultees regarding our proposals with the aim of submitting our full planning application in Autumn 2021, once all remaining surveys and results have been completed.
These surveys cover a number of topics including - village green reinstatement, heritage impacts and archaeological requirements. Our surveys have confirmed that the Greedy Duck building is a non-designated heritage asset.
Investigations for temporary vehicle across the village green continue
We continue to explore the feasibility of installing a temporary crossing as part of the project. Independent building surveys have been completed and we are currently awaiting the survey findings.
The surveys are necessary due to the close proximity of the proposed crossing to a number of listed buildings in the area. Once the reports are available, these will be shared with the building owners and an update regarding the feasibility of the temporary crossing will be provided.
Proposals for both the replacement structure and the option of a temporary vehicles crossing have been discussed with the Environment Agency. We are currently awaiting their formal response as their consent is required for both options to be delivered.
Recently, we have approached six different organisations on an expression of interest basis. We have received responses from a number of partners and shortly, we will be conducting a full and in-depth tender process. The contract will be awarded on a design and build basis, with the appointed contractor taking on the detailed design of the replacement structure.
The intention is for site works to begin in spring 2022, subject to all the necessary permissions being in place. A detailed project programme will be available once a contractor has been appointed.
Our intention is to post the latest information and any updates to this webpage and social media via our @essexhighways twitter feed, as well as sharing with the Parish Council and local councillors.