Funding go-ahead for North Bridge safety measures

Cabinet member for Public Health and Inequalities, Coun Faisal Shoukat
Cabinet member for Public Health and Inequalities, Coun Faisal Shoukat

Funding for new measures to help prevent people taking their own lives at a Halifax site will be introduced.

Why project's support messages along North Bridge could be pulled down

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet this week approved spending around £200,000 on physical measures to help stop people taking their own lives at North Bridge.

Calderdale’s Suicide Prevention Group already brings together council and partners including the NHS, Police and voluntary organisations with the aim of reducing the number of suicides.

With three people taking their own lives at North Bridge in the last year, a coroner’s letter had also urged the council to consider immediate physical safety measures as well as a longer term plan.

Measures including use of mobile fencing will be introduced as an immediate, temporary measure, with installation of anti-climb mesh along the bridge and coverings on top of the parapets planned in the longer-term.

Cabinet member for Public Health and Inequalities, Councillor Faisal Shoukat (Lab, Town) introduced the report saying it was most unfortunate that the rate of people taking their own lives in Calderdale was slightly higher than the national average and no amount of barriers could prevent someone determined to end their life from doing so.

But he was proud of the local authority’s work in conjunction with the health sector which aimed to make interventions at the right time in a person’s mental health journey to prevent them from taking their life.

Councillor Barry Collins said the coroner had encouraged the council to take action regarding North Bridge and also wrote about Scammonden Bridge, which though close by is in Kirklees. Calderdale would support anything Kirklees Council was doing to achieve the same end, he said.