Local councillors in Irlam and Cadishead told Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, not to surrender to Peel Holdings at a meeting yesterday. Salford Council, Trafford Council and Peel are currently embroiled in a legal wrangle over the estimated £150,000 operation and maintenance costs for the Barton Lifting Bridge, with no settlement in sight.
In correspondence with residents, Peel has stated that "The construction of the new A57 road and lifting bridge...has not yet been completed by our contractor Hochtief Buckingham and only when the works are fully complete, including all safety checks, will the completed project be delivered to Peel Land and Property and made available for public use. Peel has always communicated that the road and bridge will be open by the end of the year and the contractor is still working towards this time scale..."
However campaigners have cast doubts on the company's account, as there appears to be no-one on the site trying to 'complete' the work. Meanwhile, the Salford Star understands that Peel has not yet even responded to a letter from Salford Council setting out why the structure of the bridge and its operation are not the Council's responsibility.
This morning, Irlam Councillor, Roger Jones, told the Salford Star "We are determined to hold the line against Peel's ransom demands and local Councillors representing Barton, Irlam, Cadishead and Winton wards have been fully briefed. Our legal case is strong.
"We have asked Peel to open the new road and lifting bridge as soon as possible, but Peel are now arguing that the road and bridge will not be completed by Hochtief and handed over to them until the end of December" he added "The public and motorists have endured a great deal of frustration since the bridge collapsed in April 2016, but I must admit I am very annoyed by the stance taken by Peel - they do not appear to care about public opinion."
Meanwhile, as the row rumbles on, campaigners pressurising Peel to 'Open Our Bridge', took matters into their own hands yesterday, 'officially' opening the bridge...
Alan and Wayne from the Facebook group, Force Peel Holdings To Open Salford Lifting Bridge, cut a ribbon and sprayed champagne at the blocked off entrance to the bridge...
"On behalf of the people of Irlam and Cadishead and the North West...on behalf of everyone who's suffered, I'm going to open this bridge now...Good luck to everybody that crosses it...Power to the people!" (see the full video embedded in the Facebook group).
Campaigners are promising more direct action against Peel Holdings...
See also previous related Salford Star articles...
Trafford Centre Road Blocked By Barton Lifting Bridge Protesters – click here
Salford Council Held to Ransom By Peel Holdings Over Barton Lifting Bridge - click here
Force Peel Holdings to Open Lifting Bridge Says Irlam Councillor - click here
Sale Sharks at Breaking Point Over Traffic Chaos Stadium - click here
Irlam and Cadishead Community Slams Barton Lifting Bridge Chaos as Peel Holdings and Salford Council Wrangle Continues - click here