Support for the nature reserve around the Shoreham Toll Bridge

ASSISTANCE has been given to protect a nearly 250-year-old toll bridge by designating the area surrounding it as a wildlife sanctuary.

Historic England has backed Adur District Council proposals that the Shoreham Toll Bridge should be included in a proposed extension of the Old Shoreham Conservation Area.

The council’s planning committee recommended the changes after officials reviewed the reserve’s boundaries for the first time since the 1990s and asked the public for their opinion.

The report states: “The toll bridge is representative of an important part of Old Shoreham’s history and is now to be included in the conservation area.

“This site was the site of a very ancient crossing of the Adur, when the river was crossed either by a ford or by ferry.

“The first bridge was built in 1781 and restored in essentially the same pattern in the early 20th century.”

The Argus: The bridge was built in 1781. Image by Tony GristThe bridge was built in 1781. Image by Tony Grist

The review also recommends excluding a small number of modern homes on Connaught Avenue, Adur Avenue and Lesser Foxholes from the conservation area because they “do not contribute to the city’s historic character.”

At its July 4 meeting, the Adur Planning Committee recommended that Council Executive Regeneration Councilor Steve Neocleous approve the changes to the protected areas and confirm additional planning restrictions for the areas known as Article 4 Guidelines.

The Article 4 directives limit the permissible development rights for land within the area, which means that canopies, extensions and the demolition of walls require planning permission.

The bridge is currently a listed building.

The bridge has a fascinating history and was even used by cars and double-decker buses until 1968.

A council spokesman said: “Before 1781, people and animals were pulled from one side of the estuary to the other on a flat-bottomed raft.

“In 1847 a new river crossing was built to give the new South Coast Railway its own crossing and the railway company took a controlling interest in the bridge.

“Ownership passed to the newly formed nationalized British Rail in 1947 and to West Sussex County Council in 1970, the current owners.

“It was the A27 and was even used by double-decker buses until it was closed to traffic in 1968, when it became a public bridleway.” Support for the nature reserve around the Shoreham Toll Bridge

Fry Electronics Team

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