Concerns over delays to footbridge repairs

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FEARS have been raised about the delay to fix a footbridge which connects Cramlington residents to the town’s shops and facilities.

Beaconhill Footbridge provides a vital link for residents to visit the town centre, but fears have been raised that the town’s businesses will suffer if work to the bridge – which had to close in September after issues with the concrete quality and strength of the structure – isn’t carried out soon.

Cramlington Town Councillor Ian Ayers has accused Northumberland County Council of failing to prioritise, in an effort to get the bridge back into use.

“You can hear the dragging of feet loud and clear in Cramlington as council once again put Cramlington at the bottom of its list of priorities,” he said.

“This bridge is a vital link for residents with jobs and businesses with trade and you would think this would be a top priority.

“This is the administration that spent £440,000 on a state of the art ‘fish pass’ in Hedgley but can’t find the cash to fix a dangerous bridge.

“Failure to fix this problem is causing dangerous situations and I hope they will look at this again and make sure the work is completed speedily.”

But Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid hit back at the accusations.

“It is not a failure to prioritise, as we do not have the asset, it is a failure of other people to understand that we don’t own the asset.

“The bridge is owned by Network Rail, and as such we can only do work with their consent, or wait for them to carry out the work.

“It is not a case of not prioritising. The bridge is not owned by the council, so we cannot just made repairs to a structure that does not belong to us, and that we do not have permission to make repairs to.

“The council is in discussion with Network Rail and we are trying to do something.”