Broxtowe Council has approved a planning application for the creation of a new visitor centre and access embankment at the viaduct, on the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
As the owner of the wider 142-acre site, Harworth has worked closely with The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct and other partners to bring forward the plans, and will now gift a land parcel to the organisation to allow construction to commence.
The Grade II-listed viaduct is an iconic landmark standing 20 metres high above the valley of the River Erewash.
Known as ‘The Iron Giant of the Erewash Valley’, it was built between 1877 and 1878 by the Great Northern Railway and is the longest Victorian wrought iron viaduct in the UK – and one of only two still standing.
For many years it was used as a coal disposal point before eventually closing to trains in 1968.
Since then, the structure has found a new lease of life in the care of The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct.
In 2022, it was re-opened to walkers, cyclists and heritage explorers, with the western side of the viaduct fully accessible but the eastern side accessible only by steps.
The approved plans now allow for the construction of a new embankment on the eastern side, alongside a new visitor centre that will include educational facilities, a shop, toilets, outside seating and visitor parking.
Stuart Ashton, head of planning at Harworth, commented: “Bennerley Viaduct is a key part of the industrial heritage of the East Midlands, and a source of great pride for local residents.
“I’m delighted that Harworth has played its role, alongside The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, Broxtowe Council and other partners, in revitalising this 150-year old feat of engineering and ensuring it can be enjoyed by a new generation.”
John Scruton, chair of The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, added: “We extend heartfelt thanks to Harworth for their invaluable support and generosity, without which this achievement wouldn’t have been possible.
“We eagerly anticipate our continued partnership with Harworth and our other collaborators, Broxtowe Council, and our dedicated consultants and contractors.
“Together we will continue to transform our ambitious plans into reality.”