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.