Controversial bridge limit set to be lifted

Elvington Bridge
Elvington Bridge

A WEIGHT restriction placed across a bridge that divided two villages and local opinion is set to be lifted, it has been confirmed.

East Riding Council admit their only option is to remove the controversial 7.5 tonne maximum limit from Sutton Bridge between Sutton-on-Derwent and Elvington because the crossing is “structurally sound”.

It was applied to the grade II-listed bridge in September last year after a HGV had smashed into the side of the bridge months earlier causing extensive damage and putting it out of action as repair work took place.

But with the bridge now fully restored, East Riding Council say it is unable to enforce the temporary limit any longer.

A report into the bridge was discussed at a recent environment and regeneration subcommittee meting at County Hall, where removal of the limit was recommended.

The report read: “Sutton Bridge is structurally sound and capable of taking 42 tonne HGVs and a permanent ‘weak bridge’ or environmental weight limit cannot be applied.

“A width limit cannot be justified and would prevent continued access a cross the bridge for bus services and agricultural vehicles.

“In the circumstances, the only viable option is to revoke the experimental weight limit and remove the signs.”

The restriction had split opinion across the two villages and had a knock-on effect to those in the surrounding area.

Sutton-on-Derwent and Elvington Parish Councils both supported the limit, which was strongly opposed by Newton-on-Derwent, Bubwith Ellerton and Aughton, Foggathorpe and Holme-on-Spalding Moor Parish Council. They argued it was needlessly diverting heavy articulated traffic through their villages.

Residents’ views were also split with those from the surrounding villages tending to oppose a permanent weight limit. More than 284 Bubwith residents had signed a petition for its removal, while a petition was drawn up at Sutton-on-Derwent for a full enforcement of the restriction.

Many of those living at Elvington and Sutton agreed that it made the villages safer and quieter.

However, not all of those in Elvington agreed, as business owners claimed trade had suffered since the limit was applied.

One vocal trader was Tom Fitzpatrick, who runs Elvington Village Store. He said deliveries were proving difficult.

He commented: “We are pleased it’s been lifted, a lot of traffic had been ignoring it anyway. It was illegal that they out a restriction there in the first place anyway.

“It was actually much more dangerous because it was sending more heavy traffic past the school, which a lot of people did not realise.

“It was not fair on the other villages that traffic was being diverted there. My philosophy has always been let the traffic flow!”

Meanwhile Ian Bailey, chairman of Elvington Parish Council, said they had not given up hope of reinstating the limit.

He said: “We are extremely disappointed, we have done all we could to persuade East Riding Council to make it permanent.

“As far as we’re aware everybody in the village was wanted.

“We will talk to the City of York Council to explore ways in which they can help us- we have not given up hope by any means.”