History of the campaign to build a bridge at Burley
The first 100 years of effort to construct a footbridge date back at least to 1898 when the former Burley Urban District Council minutes record on November 1st "That the Wharfedale RDC be asked if they will take steps along with burley UDC to get a footbridge over the River Wharfe at Greenholme, seeing that accidents have already occurred, one lately proving fatal".
1901, December : A sub committee had been set up and was still active.
1914, June 9th : A later attempt is recorded when a Burley UDC initiative was followed for several months, until the outbreak of the Great War halted progress.
1919 : It is known that the 'Peace Bridge' was proposed to commemorate those who had died in the war. No documentary evidence is available so far, but presumably this was a local initiative.
1944, July : Burley UDC minutes record a resolution asking that after the war a bridge should be built near the stepping stones...
1944, October : Ilkley UDC were meanwhile discussing a bridge and the Ilkley gazette reported that the "Burley members were particularly warm in stressing the need for such a provision."
1945, November : A sub committee was appointed to consider the purchase of a military Bailey Bridge, The cost of £3,583-6s-10d was reported on October 4 1946 but its suitability was questioned and another sub committee was appointed to consider a suspension bridge.
1947, September 8th : The Surveyor submitted a plan showing the suggested position of a footbridge at Burley. Eventually, due to cost, only the stepping stones were repaired.
1947, November : "The provision of a bridge has been in the minds of Burley people for some time", it was reported, but at that time the cost of erecting a permanent structure was thought too much.
1975 : A petition in favour of a footbridge was organised by a Burley resident, Mrs. M Taylor, who was described as having visited about half the homes in Burley, collecting about 2000 signatures.
1977 : Burley Community Council stated that they were pressing Ilkley parish Council to support a move for the provision of a footbridge. It was said that both the 1977 annual meeting and a public meeting had voted heavily in favour. The BCC stated that "The need for a footbridge has been recognised for many years".
1996 : Following a presentation at a BCC meeting, a petition showed strong support locally. The inaugural meeting of the Footbridge Committee took place on February 12th, attended by 11 persons, of whom 8 were residents of Burley in Wharfedale.
1999 : Planning permission for a footbridge across the weir at Leather Bank was secured and the Burley Bridge Association formed.
2004 : planning permission renewed for the bridge over the weir. However the short sections of footpath needed to link the bridge with existing rights of way could not be created.
2005 : meetings with local authorities Bradford Met and Harrogate District, and landowners. West Riding Area of the Ramblers' Association decide on stepping stones site.
2006 : Bridleway bridge design unveiled. Idea proposed for a 36-mile walking route linking the two World Heritage Sites in Yorkshire, Saltaire and Fountains Abbey. This would cross the Wharfe by a bridge at Burley.
2007 : Newly formed Burley Parish Council strengthen Bradford Rights of Way Improvement Plan in support of a bridge at Burley. Eventual plans state a bridge is a "missing link" with "many requests", but no money available. Menston Parish Council offer support for a bridge.
2008 : Provisional plans were presented to the local authorities. These met all the requirements of an all-user river crossing but the large size of the bridge was not popular with Burley residents.
2009 : Survey of all households in Burley produce many messages of support for the principle of a bridge. Harrogate planners suggested a simpler footbridge.
2010 : The BBA and Ramblers' Association begin work on a footbridge directly over the right-of-way.
Summer 2010 : contacted by Ramboll UK, bridge engineers, who offer to design the proposed bridge. Several local MPs indicate support for a bridge.
Summer 2011 : Ramboll's plans made public. Presented to Burley Parish Council, Burley Neighbourhood Forum and elsewhere.
2012 : BBA begins raising money to take the scheme to the local authorities for planning permission. February 27: the 100th committee meeting of the BBA. The funding for the campaign has been helped by annual Burley Bridge Hikes between 1996 and 2010.
2013 : The campaign continued, with a visit in September by Janet Street-Porter who led a group of supporters to the site of the bridge. A £10,000 donation was received. A newsletter was distributed to the village and an appeal boosted the funds for the preparation of a planning application by Ramboll UK.
2014 : The planning application was completed by mid-year and was submitted to Bradford and Harrogate councils at the end of July. In September, BBC Look North featured Janet Street-Porter and committee members being interviewed on the north bank of the Wharfe. Open meetings were held in Burley by the BBA to explain the plans. The public had the right to comment on the application on the councils’ websites and there was a good response. In November, following a presentation by the BBA, Burley Parish Council gave its support to the application. In December, Harrogate District Council gave their approval.
2015 : A coffee morning in January attracted a good turnout and donations. On February 25th, the planning application was approved by Bradford MDC.
2015: BBA volunteers collect litter from the north bank of the river between Easter and September.
2015: Burley Bridge Association registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with the Charity Commission.
2016: A litter bin is installed by Bradford Council on the bridleway near to Burley Weir, paid for in part by the BBA. The council litter team begin weekly collections shortly afterwards. A local resident hosts spare bin bags and other litter collection gear for BBA volunteers, who regularly check the north bank and keep the bin area tidy.
2017: The AGM on 18 May mandates the BBA to maintain an active campaign for the bridge, rather than mothball or close down. This to include encouraging Bradford and North Yorkshire Councils to consider the use of their statutory powers to enable construction and access to the bridge site.
2018: Agreement reached with Bradford and North Yorkshire Councils that they would both be prepared to consider the use of their statutory powers to enable the bridge to be constructed, and to allow access for future maintenance.
2018: Outline planning approval for the bridge given by North Yorkshire (May) and Bradford (July) Councils.
2018: New BBA logo and fundraising leaflet designed and printed.