Green Light to Re-open Bennerley Viaduct

Plans to bring Bennerley Viaduct back into use as a spectacular walkway high above across the Erewash Valley have been given the green light by both Erewash and Broxtowe Borough Councils. 

The Erewash Borough Council planning committee voted unanimously to pass the planning application stating it was a fantastic development which would become a brilliant asset to the area. They welcomed the positive impact the project would have on the health and wellbeing of the community. One councillor commented that we should all be proud of “Cotmanhay’s Eiffel Tower”.

Broxtowe Borough Council also fully supported the plans.

The grade 2* structure which straddles the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border has been closed for the last 50 years. The project will carry out critical repairs to the structure and create access both on top of and underneath the viaduct. The viaduct will create an important link in the area’s extensive trail network connecting the Erewash and Nottingham Canals.

Commenting on the decision, Bill Tomson from Railway Paths, the Viaduct’s owners said “These decisions are a real milestone in Bennerley Viaduct’s history. We are delighted with the outcome. The project will bring a historic structure back into use and encourage walking and cycling in an inspirational location.”

Jeff Wynch, the chair of the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct stated:  “We are delighted with the decisions from both Councils which enable this exciting initiative to move forwards. The project will create new opportunities for active recreation and enjoyment and will extend the life of the viaduct for future generations to enjoy. We are grateful to the councils, owners and funders who share our vision to bring this iconic structure back into public use.”

Paul Miller, the chair of the Ilkeston and District History Society said: “This is fantastic news. The viaduct is a locally and nationally important structure. It is a tribute to the ingenuity of our Victorian engineers and the awesome endeavours of 19th century railway pioneers. The decision to bring this historic structure back to life for the community to enjoy is one which we welcome wholeheartedly.”

Although a large proportion of the funding has been raised, there is still a shortfall.  Over the next few months, The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct will be busy fundraising to enable the community to contribute to the viaduct’s future and have a real stake in the project. The construction and access works are due to start this Autumn with the reopening taking place in 2020.

Future Volunteer Workdays

Bennerley Viaduct Volunteers clearing scrub vegetation to increase diversity and create a path for public use.

Our Next workdays are on:

Saturday May 11th: Start time 10:00am

Saturday June 8th

Saturday July 6th

More details to follow:

Volunteer Workday Saturday March 30th

Our next work party will take place on Saturday, March 30th 2019 between 10:00 am and 3:00pm. We will be working under the middle spans. These spans are heavily overgrown with hawthorn, bramble, and other scrub species. We need to prepare these spans so the new footpath under the viaduct can be extended on to the Nottingham Canal.

The scrub clearing tasks will include:

  • Lopping,
  • Hawthorn removal,
  • Scrub removal,
  • Tree pruning and cutting back.
  • The creation of some habitat piles.
  • Removing roots.
  • Cutting back bracken.

We will bring protective gloves but if you have your own, please bring them.

If you arrive during the morning or afternoon, we will be working under the middle spans so you will have to find us. Come for as long or as short as you can manage, it will be good to see you. The difference that the volunteers made in 2016 and 2017 was phenomenal and we express our thanks and appreciation to all those who helped make such a difference.

The barrier on Newtons Lane will be open from 9:30 onwards so you can bring your car up to the viaduct.  See Map   Come for an hour, a morning or the day. It will be brilliant to see you all again.

Meeting Dates and Times 2018

Full Meetings of the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct currently take place once every two months. Anyone who is is interested in the future of the viaduct is welcome to attend and participate. The next meetings will take place on:

Monday February 12th The Gate Inn Awsworth 7:00 pm

Monday April 16th (AGM) The Gate Inn, Awsworth. 7:00 pm

Monday 18th June The Gate Inn, Awsworth  7:00 pm.

 

All welcome. If you want any item to be included on the agenda, please contact Kieran Lee. me.   kieran.lee@sustrans.org.uk