19th/20th November 2011: Working Party, Daisy Nook [info: 0161 355 5557]
If you have not been on a working party before, why not come along and join in? You will be made welcome! Big muscles are not essential as you can be given work to suit your capabilities! You can come along on just one day or on both days.
Meet at Daisy Nook Car Park, Stannybrook Road, at 9.30 am on either day. Strong footwear and waterproof clothing recommended. Light refreshments provided. Lunch available at minimal cost.
Please phone our Working Party Organiser, Mike, on 0161 355 5557 for more information.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
We have previously reported on the poor condition of Pinch Farm footbridge. We are sorry to report that over the summer months the bridge was further vandalised, with the entire wooden decking of the bridge being removed and dropped into the canal, as seen in the photo above.
A bridge inspection carried out by Oldham Council in August concluded that the ironwork was in serious disrepair and recommended that that the bridge is removed or replaced. Oldham Council has confirmed that the bridge is in their ownership. Although it does not carry a public right of way, there is a legal obligation to provide access between the two parts of the property.
There are a number of options that can be considered at the moment, including removing the bridge entirely, replacing it with a simple modern bridge, replacing it with a new bridge similar to the existing bridge or restoring the existing bridge.
This last option would be the most expensive, involving dismantling the bridge and sending it away to specialists, and it may be that the iron work is so corroded that not much can be saved.
We have been exploring with Council officers ways in which volunteers from the Canal Society and the Waterway Recovery Group might help with the work and reduce costs. It was quickly realised that restoration of the ironwork was beyond even the skills of WRG. However they would be capable of repairing the brickwork of the abutments.
The recent inspection found that the wrought iron beams, cross braces and riveted lattice sides have extensive corrosion and are in critical condition. The report suggests that the work could cost between £25,000 and £40,000. The council will weigh up the options and decide which one to follow, within their current budgetary constraints.
The Society realises that it may not be possible to save the existing bridge but we are hopeful that there will be an outcome that considers the visual impact to the many visitors who walk along this section of towpath.
The bridge was a replacement built by the Manchester Sheffield and Lincoln-shire Railway Company around 1850.