More ‘affordable’ and ‘sympathetic’ Forth Bridge visitor hub submitted for planning
Network Rail’s revised proposals to install a bridge walk and visitor hub at the iconic Forth Bridge have now been submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council.
The “more affordable” proposals include a single-storey reception hub to the east of the Forth Bridge, which the transport body said is sympathetically positioned in the landscape and offers stunning views of the iconic heritage structure while minimising the impact on the surrounding environment.
The submission of the full planning application follows a public engagement exercise held in autumn 2021 to gather feedback from residents which helped to inform the final designs.
The proposals will see the construction of a bridge walk and reception hub on the South Queensferry side of the UNESCO World Heritage site, which will be used for preparing those heading out on the bridge walk as well as providing an access point to the structure.
Groups of between 12 and 15 people will put on safety harnesses before being led out onto the bridge’s south cantilever, walking up to a viewing point at the top using walkways built into the structure.
The new plans, led by Arup with WT Architecture and The Paul Hogarth Company, supersede an approved application from 2019.
Alan Ross, Network Rail Scotland’s director of engineering and asset management, said: “We have worked very hard over the past year to draw up revised proposals, making them more affordable and more sympathetic to the surrounding environment without compromising the appeal of this project.
“The plans we have submitted to deliver a bridge walk experience will offer the public a unique chance to explore this world-famous structure and create another exciting tourist attraction for Scotland.”
Network Rail’s application stated: “These proposals are part of a wider ‘Forth Bridge Experience’ being developed by Network Rail on both sides of the Forth, including a more extensive visitor centre in North Queensferry which will give universal access via a hoist to the top of the Fife Tower.”