Form or function ?

I don’t often comment on planning issues, as they tend not to arise too often with the ward, but one from Whaley Bridge that is due to go before the next planning committee has caught my eye and not necessarily in a good way.

The application in question is HPK/2010/0289 with regards to the replacement of railway bridge 42, (as pictured above from Google Maps / Street view) which is coming before the council due to the structure being a listed building.

The report for the development control meeting is recommending from officers to refuse the bridge as it fails to comply with the local plan aims “of conserving heritage assests” unless there is substantial public benefits gained by it’s removal, well in my view (and this is most likely my view alone) whilst it’s a nice bridge, it’s not one of a kind, and in the great scheme of things this is a bridge that is part of a current operational railway line and as such the railway should have the flexibility to replace it to meet the needs of the line.

Now if it was a station ie more in the centre of a town, or one of the viaducts locally, that might be another matter, but in this case it should be function first rather than form.