An ancient Grade 2-listed bridge on the English Heritage ‘at-risk’ register is set to receive vital repairs thanks to the persistence of Keynsham councillor Alan Hale.
In February this year Councillor Hale raised concerns with Council officers about the bridge at Dapps Hill in Keynsham where it crosses the River Chew to Steel Mills. That same month an officer told Cllr Hale that a bridge inspector called in by the council reported that whilst not in good condition there was no need for immediate concerns. However, Cllr Hale was told that one of the council engineers would take a look.
By April he had heard nothing from officers. At the same time he was contacted by a resident of Dapps Hill who revealed that he had been corresponding with various B&NES Council departments and English Heritage since 2002 regarding the state of the bridge but with no action taking place to make repairs. He had also had a letter from a Director in February reassuring him there was no need for any immediate action.
From then on Alan Hale continued to correspond with officers seeking action and drew in the Chief Executive because of what appeared to be a lack of action.
Cllr Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South) said:
“The Keynsham Conservation Area of Dapps Hill seems to be constantly overlooked by the Council and any attempt to have matters put right meets with a challenge.
“However, following my intervention on behalf of the community, the Council are now carrying out extensive work to repair cracks and movement in the bridge, as well as replacing missing masonry, particularly on the Cutwaters on either side of the bridge as well as on the arches. They are also going to remove areas of vegetation and make good after removal. So there was most definitely a need for action, despite what the bridge inspector originally had to say.”
This is the third time that Cllr Hale has had to fight to ensure that the integrity of the Conservation Area is maintained. Earlier this year he supported residents and took on the challenge of getting remedial work carried out on the high wall on Dapps Hill, after much correspondence the work was carried out. In 2008 the council were going to put in patches of tarmacadam between paving stones and repair cracks in paving stones in the same way on Dapps Hill. Alan involved himself on the residents behalf and the broken pavement was replaced completely in new paving slabs.
“I am pleased that I took action because if left then had there been a heavy flood we might have lost our bridge which serves as a route to school for children and as a route to the shops for many adults.”