To re-open the listed Waverley Line viaduct which crosses the river Eden in Carlisle as a public bridleway for pedestrians and cyclists.
The origin of the Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust has been that of a campaigning organisation dedicated to the restoration of the Waverley Viaduct and its re-opening as a public bridleway. The Trust was incorporated (Company Number: 09668596) on the 2 July 2015 and registered as a charity with the Charity Commission on 25 July 2016.
The reasons for this campaign have been discussed at length over past years but they are summarised below.
1. For 40 years the viaduct was open to the public and used extensively by the community on both sides of the River Eden (local residents, walkers, fishermen, dog owners, joggers etc.). The viaduct is a substantial and majestic structure but temporary barriers are in place rendering it an unused asset to the city of Carlisle. Properly utilised, it can open up recreational walking routes and further serve as a traffic free transport link between two sides of a city divided by the river.
2. The viaduct is a listed structure and £303,000 pounds were spent on it in 2014, bringing it back to the standard when closed to railway traffic.
3. Highways England who spent this money have indicated that they wish to see the viaduct brought back into use as a traffic free crossing of the river. They will retain ownership and continue to maintain the structure.
4. They have agreed that if we, as a charitable company, carry out the necessary work to waterproof the deck, and construct a safe route across the viaduct with suitable surface and fencing, then they will grant us a lease at a peppercorn rent for 25 years.
5. The results of a public petition in 2010 which over 2000 people signed and a recent newspaper poll have shown that the public are overwhelmingly in favour of the re-opening of the viaduct for public access. 97% of those polled voted in favour of the viaduct being re-opened.
6. It is accepted that 3% of those who participated in the poll voted not to re-open the viaduct but in connection with a recent planning application, some 55 citizens objected to the barriers remaining up for a further three years. The only known supporters of continuing closure (a handful of people) reside within the hamlet of Stainton. Whilst recognising that they have genuine concerns about anti-social behaviour, the Trust would submit that their concerns are misguided and based upon instances of historical difficulties.
7. The call for re-opening within the wider community is overwhelming and the continuing presence of the barriers and need to active communication between city and county councils and all interested parties has adversely delayed positive progress being made to achieve a long term solution but that progress is now being made.
How will we achieve our aim?
• By building on our continuing rapport with Highways England to ensure the completion of the current phase of works.
• Either coming to an amicable agreement with the landowner(s) concerned for access and egress on the northern end of the viaduct or, if agreement cannot be obtained, requesting the local authority to impose a Public Path Creation Order to achieve egress from the viaduct.
• Building on the support of several city and county councillors and funds promised so as to provide a specification acceptable to Highways Agency to provide a waterproof decking and associated draining system
• Enlisting the help of our councils and the community to apply for the necessary funding to complete the remaining works required for this project.
• Enlisting the help- of our councils to obtain all necessary permissions from planning and heritage perspectives.
• Negotiating the terms of the appropriate lease from Highways England, enter into a lease, comply with necessary Health and safety and regulatory requirements and obtain insurance.
• Seek tenders and commission the works.
• Reopen the viaduct as soon as practical and within a set timetable.
Our aim now is to re-open the viaduct as a bridleway for the citizens of and visitors to Carlisle in as short a time as is feasible.
We ask for the continuing support and commitment from our city and council members and engagement from their officers to achieve this goal and produce a great benefit for the City of Carlisle.
Our Patrons: Eric Martlew, Freeman of the City of Carlisle, Eric Robson, Broadcaster, Chair of Cumbria Tourism, Chair of the Wainwright Society