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Alcester railway bridge to be demolished on safety grounds

A long-forgotten railway bridge uncovered in Alcester this summer is to be demolished over safety fears.

Alcester bridge (51641201)
Alcester bridge (51641201)

The structure on Birmingham Road, close to the Roebuck Inn, was unearthed in July during work by Bloor Homes on a new housing development.

At the time there were calls for the 19th Century Bridge to be saved and possibly used as a cycle or walking route, while its discovery also prompted the creation of a short documentary film on Youtube.

However Warwickshire County Council have now deemed that the bridge is unsafe with an ongoing liability to the authority, which owns the structure.

The council confirmed that work to remove the bridge would take place on or around this Monday (27th September).

Bloor Homes had originally intended to re-cover the bridge and leave as much as was possible in place.

Councillor Wallace Redford, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning, said: “We are working closely with Bloor Homes and this course of action is the safest option to ensure the long-term integrity of the road surfaces.”

However the authority added that prior to the removal, an archaeological survey by Warwickshire County Council’s specialist team has been undertaken alongside a full photo record of the demolition by the Principal Contractor.

All information and reports will be supplied to Warwickshire County Council and made available to the general public on request.

On completion of the removal of the buried structure, the embankment will be regraded and a new fence line installed on the highway boundary.

According to local historian Stephen Godfrey, the bridge was part of the old Alcester railway which was opened in 1876, an independent line that went on to be taken over by Great Western.

The line cost £50,000 to build, with the last passenger trains running on the stretch in 1939 before it was finally closed in 1960 and the lines taken up.

When the bridge was unearthed earlier this year it triggered a big reaction on social media, with many some sharing their memories of playing under it in their childhoods.

Stephen Godfrey, from the Alcester and District Local History Society, said: “It’s always a shame when things from the past have to be pulled down, but you’ve got to be practical too. The fact is it doesn’t serve any purpose and until they started digging in that embankment earlier in the year, most people would have had no idea it was there.”

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