Bridge dispute case adjourned

Scaffolding on the Glenesk viaduct as workmen resurface and renovate the bridge in September 1992
Scaffolding on the Glenesk viaduct as workmen resurface and renovate the bridge in September 1992

A charity which took Network Rail to a tribunal over the compulsory purchase of a bridge for the new Borders Railway remains confident of success.

The Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust has been offered £10,000 for the Glenesk Viaduct, despite spending £350,000 preserving and maintaining the structure. A Lands Tribunal hearing held recently in Edinburgh to examine the claim has been adjourned, with the charity asked to supply additional information for Network Rail to look over. A date has not yet been set for the next hearing.

Mark Sydenham, communications manager for the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust still believes they will win the case.

He said: “We spent a lot more than £10,000 on restoring and maintaining the viaduct. It was actually £5,000 they offered. When we questioned that they provisionally put it up to £10,000.

“I think what it hangs on is the concept of a market value of a bridge. The judge will then need to ponder that, so that’s the current status.

“We are reasonably confident. We know we have got a good case morally.

“We have effectively subsidised the railway.”

The charity bought the viaduct in 1992 and turned it into a walking and cycle route.

Mr Sydeham believes that if it wasn’t for the charity then Network Rail would have had to build a new bridge.

He said:“In 1992 the viaduct was in a poor state and either needed to be demolished or restored.

“So we took ownership of it and fundraised to restore it, spending about £350,000 on bringing it back into use and then preserving it. If we had not done that it would have been demolished. Therefore they would have had to build a new bridge for the railway.

“So we feel we should be compensated for the money we spent. If we hadn’t done that it would have cost them a lot more to replace the bridge.

“The value of £350,000 in today’s money is about £500,000 so that is the compensation we are looking for. All of which we would spend on community projects.”

Network Rail told the Advertiser it would not comment while the case is still active.