Severe delay means work on Sowerby Bridge market square will not be finished until next spring

Structural design problems have severely delayed a new £1.3 million market square for Sowerby Bridge.
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Construction was to have started on a new town market square being put in place off Wharf Street this spring.

But due to the problems that have arisen, it is likelier it will be spring 2024 before the new square is in place.

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Calderdale Council’s transport and strategy manager Peter Stubbs told councillors the problem which needed resolving was to do with underlying structural designs, not the layout itself.

Councillor Silvia Dacre asked that Sowerby Bridge Town Board be kept informedCouncillor Silvia Dacre asked that Sowerby Bridge Town Board be kept informed
Councillor Silvia Dacre asked that Sowerby Bridge Town Board be kept informed

These had been passed back to the design consultants, who developed the original design, who were now working with the council and its internal engineers to overcome the issues.

“The issues are to do with the levels that they have used and the gradients between the canal at the back and Wharf Street at the front of the site,” he said.

“They have now presented some designs back to us and we are poring over those at the moment,” he said.

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Despite engineering staffing pressures, the council was working to issue a tender for the work and although this was routinely done through a regional agency, the council was also looking at an alternative way likely to be swifter.

The Sowerby Bridge market placeThe Sowerby Bridge market place
The Sowerby Bridge market place

This would involve engaging one of the council’s highways contractors through a local framework, who was already doing work in the town at Hollins Mill Lane.

“We are confident that contractor could very well work with us internally and develop the market square quicker than perhaps it will be if we went out externally,” said Mr Stubbs.

It was possible construction might be completed by April 2024 and, depending on the results of the investigations being carried out, could be quicker than that, the council’s cabinet asset management and markets working party heard.

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Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden) was assured this could be done within procurement rules as engaging a contractor using this internal framework was used for highway works and this qualified as there was a cycle route going through it.

She also asked that Sowerby Bridge Town Board be informed as fully as possible as to what was happening.