Railway Bridge demolition plan refused until further reports are received

Rings End arches.

Rings End arches. - Credit: Archant

HISTORIC railway arches on the outskirts of March have won a temporary reprieve while Fenland planners decide whether they should allow them to be demolished.

Rings End arches.

Rings End arches. - Credit: Archant

The 12 arches that nestle alongside the A141 at Rings End are listed in a special council register which highlights buildings of local interest.

It was taken at the beginning of August in 1980 and shows a pair of Class 20 locomotives with a frei

It was taken at the beginning of August in 1980 and shows a pair of Class 20 locomotives with a freight from Whitemoor. They are crossing the viaduct over the A141 at Rings End on the March to Spalding line. - Credit: Archant

Planners fear the loss of such a dominant feature in the Fen landscape would have a considerable visual impact on the area.

They also fear potential safety risks of knocking it down without a survey carried out beforehand.

A demolition application from Chatteris businessman Silvio Perna to knock the bridge down by hand to make way for housing has been put on hold until planners have received details of the demolition and how the site will be restored.

They also want details of how wildlife will be protected at the nearby Nene Washes site of special scientific interest while work is carried out

The railway viaduct arches date back to 1860 and form an imposing and dominant brick structure which is highly visible in Rings End, says a planning report.

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The bridge is due to go under the spotlight as part of a public consultation on historical features in the Fens where local people’s views are gathered on how the area should be shaped for the future.

Mr Perna bought the former railway viaduct bridge with a view to knocking it down to make way for new homes.

His architect, Ken Elener, says the bridges are falling into a state of disrepair thanks to no maintenance since 1982 and claims the cost of their upkeep is too great to make it worthwhile leaving them standing.

He told planners that the bridge is: “A structure, not a building. It is not listed or noted of local interest.”

The council have refused the application saying they cannot make a decision until reports are submittted on the method of demolition, arachaeology, local land contamination, biodiversity and wildlife.

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