Network Rail has been given the green light by Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee, to go ahead with a £10m viewing platform and visitor hub at the iconic, 130-year-old Forth Bridge.
Councillors considered 150 objections and 40 messages of support for the project before approving the planning application which predicts that 85,000 visitors per year will make their way in guided parties of 12 and 15, up 367 feet, to the top of the bridge’s South Queens Ferry cantilever.
Once there, they will enjoy unprecedented views of the bridge and of commercial, naval, tourist and leisure ship and boat traffic on the Firth of Forth.
Now Network Rail says that it will go ahead quickly with the project which it says will boost existing tourist numbers to South Queens Ferry, which already attracts thousands coming to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site bridge, and to enjoy cruises allowing them to access views of the impressive piece of Victorian engineering, from the water.
Alan Ross, Network Rail director of engineering and asset management, said: “We are pleased to have secured planning consent for the project. The bridge walk experience will offer the public a unique and memorable visit to one of Scotland’s best loved structures and bring more tourists to the town.
“We are fully committed to working with the people of South Queens Ferry to deliver this project sensitively and with as little disruption as possible.”
The Firth of Forth is one of the busiest waterways in Scotland, providing access to Grangemouth Port and refinery, the eastern end of the Forth & Clyde Canal, and the navigable Forth which can be used by leisure craft as far as Stirling.