Bourne History Group campaign to save Bridge 234 in zone seven of Elsea Park development
A group of Bourne residents passionate about the town’s history are encouraging people to join their campaign to save a bridge.
In December, Bellway Homes notified Elsea Park residents that it hopes to build 373 new properties in zone seven of the development, the final area left at the site.
However, a controversial element of the plans is the future of Bridge 234, which the developer says is not ‘structurally safe’.
The Bourne History Group, previously known as Non Time History - Save Our Bridge, has continued to campaign against the removal of the bridge.
Bridge 234 was built in the 19th Century and since becoming discarded as part of the railway line was left to its own accord.
Steve Giullari, creator of Bourne History Group, said: “What it has become is a different story.
“Over the years the railway has been taken away from signal boxes to other bridges around here.
“Pretty much all we have left is this little part of it.”
He added: “Where it stands bridges the gap between two communities - Elsea Park and the old town on Bourne.
“That’s why the people of Bourne want to save it.”
Non Time History was set up on Facebook in 2018 and has since grown to have more than 1,500 members who are campaigning to save the bridge and trying to find out more about its history.
“It’s the last piece of heritage and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Steve, 43.
“It’s like having a piece of history erased.
“I’m not against the entry homes in Bourne as I do think you can put history and new developments together.
“It’s about looking after our history.
“I often say you wouldn’t have someone come into your home and remove photos of your grandparents from your wall. You would be infuriated, but we seem to allow developers to come into this town, which is our home, and they do exactly that.”
Steve is trying to create a dialogue between the group and developers to find a solution, which would suit them both.
He said: “When I read the lines they’ve written in their proposal the first sentence is ‘we want to save the bridge’ but then they say it’s structurally unsound and they can’t save it in it’s entirety.
“It’s like they are saying ‘we would like to but aren’t going to - it’s very odd.”
Steve would like to see the bridge restored and would only not oppose its removal if ‘every avenue has been exhausted’.
Lucas Fidler, of Tarragon Way in Bourne, has also previously contacted the Mercury opposing the development of zone seven - because of the bridge and concerns about the wildlife on the site.
He is working with the Bourne History Group and has also outlined his concerns in a letter to Stamford and Bourne MP Gareth Davies (Con).
Robin Jones, who lives in Baston, is the editor of Heritage Railway magazine.
On seeing an article featuring Mr Fidler in the Mercury, he visited the bridge and agrees it should be saved.
His viewpoint is outlined in a letter on page 50.
Bellway’s plans for zone seven of Elsea Park have been submitted to South Kesteven District Council for approval.
A spokesman for Bellway Eastern Counties, said: “Though we acknowledge Bridge 234 cannot be retained as part of our plans for the site due to its poor structural condition, we intend to create public open space as part of the development, which will enable us to celebrate the heritage of the bridge within the Bourne community.
“Our plans include the creation of a paved piazza which would mark the exact location of the bridge.
“We remain committed to working closely with the council, the Bourne History Group and the wider community to ensure we leave a lasting tribute to Bridge