Historic Victorian footbridge set for 'extensive' refurbishment works

Repairs are set to be carried out to the 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

Repairs are set to be carried out to the 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Extensive works look set to be carried out to a historic footbridge that was temporarily closed after safety concerns were raised.

Plans for a scheme of "repair and refurbishment works" to a designated listed structure in Lowestoft look set to be given the green light.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With a listed building consent application submitted to East Suffolk Council in December, centring around the "repair and refurbishment of existing pedestrian bridge", a new lease of life is earmarked for the 19th century Jubilee Bridge.

The popular footbridge, which runs from Belle Vue Park over The Ravine in Lowestoft, had been closed after safety concerns were raised during an inspection in December 2020.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Last October East Suffolk Council and Lowestoft Town Council confirmed they were working together to finalise a "programme of repairs" to the Victorian footbridge that was built in 1887 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Last month, East Suffolk's scrutiny committee reviewed the revised capital programme for the rest of 2021/22, as well as plans for the next four years.

Figures revealed that £1 million of funding has also been allocated for structural works and refurbishment of the 19th century Jubilee Bridge.

Safety concerns Jubilee Bridge Lowestoft

Safety concerns had been raised during an inspection of the Jubilee Bridge, which runs from Belle Vue Park over The Ravine in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Now, the listed building consent application is being recommended for approval by planning officers, with East Suffolk's planning committee north meeting at Riverside in Lowestoft next Tuesday, February 8 to vote on the plans.

With East Suffolk Council the applicant for the scheme, a planning report to councillors states: "Listed Building Consent is sought for the repair and refurbishment of the existing Jubilee Bridge, which crosses The Ravine, Lowestoft.

Lowestoft youngsters making the most of the snow as they scamper across the Ravine Bridge

Lowestoft youngsters making the most of the snow as they scamper across The Ravine bridge. - Credit: Archant Library

"The proposed comprehensive programme of works to repair and refurbish the existing Grade II Listed structure is in order to allow safe future usage to recommence upon completion."

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The planning report says the proposed works are "not considered to adversely impact on the historical importance of the structure."

The closed off Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The closed off Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: RVAD Ltd

Among the extensive works is the "removal and replacement of the existing concrete deck of the bridge" and "some of the supporting steel bracing on the underside of the bridge, which has unfortunately corroded over time."

It adds: "The works proposed are quite extensive and look to refurbish the bridge to a safe and useable structure as well as bring it back up to a condition which is visually attractive and well maintained."

The closed off Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The closed off Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: RVAD Ltd

With the recommendation to councillors "that Listed Building Consent be granted subject to conditions" it concludes: "The proposed works would allow for the safe re-introduction of pedestrian use of the bridge, as well as safeguarding the future of the Listed Bridge.

"The works overall are necessary and will make this bridge useable again and restore its appearance."

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Site history

With the architect William Chambers commissioned to design the iron bridge it was funded by William Youngman, the first elected mayor of the borough, with the south side bearing inscriptions referring to Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

The inscription on the 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The inscription on the 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

It consists of a single-span, flat-deck steel footbridge spanning above The Ravine, the report says: "Jubilee Bridge was built in 1887 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, providing a pedestrian link from the then recently constructed and laid out public park, across The Ravine.

The Ravine in Lowestoft

The Ravine in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"The Jubilee Bridge was Listed in 1993."

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge in Lowestoft.

The 19th century Jubilee Bridge boarded up in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The bridge sits within the North Lowestoft Conservation Area, with the Appraisal stating: "Without question, the most elaborate and impressive iron structure in the conservation
area is Jubilee Bridge over The Ravine.

The Ravine in Lowestoft.

A view of The Ravine in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"The bridge is an extremely important feature of the conservation area."