Chris Kane is the Chair of both Braehead & Broomridge Community Development Trust and Braehead Community Council. In 2017, he’ll be publishing a regular series of blogs on what both organisations are doing within our community.
Network Rail have now submitted their planning application to replace the Kerse Road Bridge and it is available to view on Stirling Council’s website. This application confirms the intention to close the bridge for twelve months starting in May 2017. Normally Network Rail do not have to secure planning permission, but in this case the existing bridge (constructed in 1968) was built and is owned by Stirling Council.
It has also emerged that the bridge will be closed from 3-7 February to allow engineers to dig up the road and locate utility pipes and cables ahead of the year long replacement closure starting in May.
One fundamental question I’d like an answer to is why does it take a year to replace a bridge? If it were a part of the M9 motorway I would imagine a weekend closure would be all the time allowed. Why is that not an option here? The rest of this blog assumes there is a good reason for it taking one year, but the answer we receive will go a long way to deciding how supportive we as a community are prepared to be.
The February closure will allow Stirling Council to put technology in place to monitor the effect this has on traffic using other routes, including Braehead. Stirling Council have also published the official diversion route to be used in February, which does NOT include routing along Pike Road-Broom Road-Linden Avenue.
Of course, any driver with local knowledge may choose to divert through Braehead and Broomridge. If you were driving to B&Q and got to the Craigs Roundabout before remembering about the closure, would you drive up to Pirnhall or would you drive through Braehead? That’s why I’ll continue to lobby Stirling Council to ensure that if any changes are necessary to the official diversion route for the long closure starting in May, they will not use Pike Road-Broom Road-Linden Avenue. I’ll be insisting that monitoring go on throughout the closure and if traffic volumes do increase, appropriate measures are put in place to keep everybody safe when crossing these roads.
Network Rail and Stirling Council have also accepted an invitation to attend the January meeting of Braehead Community Council to talk more about closure and listen to our concerns about its potential impact on Braehead and Broomridge. Our meetings are public and you are welcome to attend.
Community Councils (and individuals) are an important part of the planning process and we’re able to submit a response during the planning process which will be considered by the Planning Panel. We can either submit “no comments”, “support” or “object” to an application. If we choose to object, we can only do so by indicating we do so because of a “material consideration”. In this case the material considerations are: National and European Policy; Structure or Local Plan Policy; Environmental Impacts; Design and relationship to surroundings; Access, water, drainage, flooding; History of site. Braehead Community Council’s official response will be on the agenda for our meeting and I’d love to hear your comments. Send me an email and let me know what you think.