Preparations underway for the next big project

We are launching a fundraising appeal for the Birtley Bridges project. The project is to build two lifting bridges on a scenic section of the canal south of Bramley, Surrey.

The first bridge (Bridge 1) is already in place, but with a temporary fixed deck. Volunteers are now gearing up to begin the construction of Bridge 2, further to the north. The plan is for both bridges to have lifting decks. We purchased the Birtley section of canal thanks to the generosity of an overseas member. Major restoration work began in 2019 when regular volunteers and visiting working parties joined forces to construct the substructure of the first bridge (Birtley Bridge 1). Since late 2021, the public have been able to go along the canal towpath and across Bridge 1 as part of a scenic circular walk.

We have planning permission for Bridge 2 which is on the site of an original canal bridge. Currently a causeway blocks the canal route here. Planning permission for Bridge 2 came with a long list of conditions to fulfil before work could start, but this has now been done. Volunteers have begun preparing an access route and compound in readiness. The project isn’t a simple one. To mention some of the challenges, we have to relocate a gas main, divert a public right of way and obtain technical design approval from Surrey County Council for the lifting bridges. We plan to use volunteers and our own workforce as much as possible, but we will have to use contractors for some of the key specialist jobs.

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