The Reconstruction of Whitchurch Bridge - information is on a separate page
Whitchurch Bridge carries the B471 over the River Thames between Pangbourne in West Berkshire, and Whitchurch-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. It lies within the civil parish of Whitchurch-on-Thames, which in turn lies within the district of South Oxfordshire and the county of Oxfordshire.
Whitchurch Bridge lies within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Whitchurch-on-Thames Conservation Area, and is a Grade II listed structure for planning purposes. The local Planning authority is South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC).
The Bridge is subject to a statutory weight limit of 7.5 tonnes mgw. Access to the Bridge is restricted by a low railway over-Bridge (11 feet headroom) on the Pangbourne (south) approach, and limiting road widths and a steep hill in Whitchurch-on-Thames.
The next Project for the Company will be improvements to the footway on the Pangbourne approach road based on the feasability study undertaken in 2012, and as part of informal consultations with Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames Parish Councils the Company produced a Stage 2 Options Document. This document was used as a basis for consultations in 2012 with West Berkshire Council (as local Planning Authority) and the conclusions were:
a) any upgrade work, including any relocation of the footway to the downstream side of the Bridge, should preferably include widening of the roadway and the provision of a verge on the non-footway side. Such works would require Planning Permission. There was insufficient time to obtain this before the completion of detailed engineering design and tender documentation for the reconstruction of the Bridge, so there was no change in the position of the footway on the Bridge during the reconstruction of the Bridge.
b) if land is to be acquired for widening the Pangbourne approach road, West Berkshire Council favours taking land from the Adventure Dolphin side rather than the Boathouse Surgery side, as they consider that this would be less harmful to trees and the natural environment.
c) a) and b) together lead to Option 1B being the preferred Option from the Stage 2 Options Document.
This preferred option would however involve the felling of trees which it would clearly be best to avoid. The Company will therefore look at further options, involving perhaps smaller strips of land on both sides of the highway outside the existing railings, which may obviate the need for all or some tree felling. We will consult on the details of the works with adjacent landowners, West Berkshire Council as Highways and Planning Authority, and the Parish Councils of Whitchurch-on-Thames and Pangbourne.
The Company will not commit to any works until the outcome of the Toll Application is known and funds are available. It should be noted that the Company owns the highway only between the railings from the Surgery entrance to the Bridge: the land outside the railings is owned by others and a transfer of ownership would need to be agreed if the highway is to be widened.
We will also look at redesigning and widening the speed hump next to the Toll Booth which also serves as a pedestrian crossing point, and will consult on the details with Oxfordshire County Council as Highways Authority, South Oxfordshire District Council as Planning Authority and Whitchurch-on-Thames Parish Council.