Conservative councillors in Bath have said that waiting until next summer for a temporary repair to be made to the city’s historic Victoria Bridge is too long and are calling B&NES Council to start work on a full restoration of the bridge immediately.
Conservatives have said that the Lib Dem-run Council should not be spending £400,000 on a temporary measure which will not be in place until next summer and which will only last one year. Instead, Conservatives have said that the Council should use the money towards a full restoration project and start work immediately in order to ensure the safety of the bridge.
Following questioning by Conservatives at a recent Council Cabinet meeting, it has emerged that a full restoration of the 19th century bridge, which has been closed since last October, is not currently planned to be completed for another two years. In the meantime, the Council currently plans to spend nearly £400,000 on a temporary measure which would not be ready until next summer and will involve creating a latticed box-truss structure to support the bridge.
Conservatives have raised concerns about the immediate safety of the bridge and the visual impact of the planned ‘box-truss’ temporary structure.
Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones (Lansdown) said:
“The continued delays to reopening Victoria Bridge are becoming increasingly worrying, particularly as the bridge appears to be in a worse state than previously thought. There is now real urgency to seeing action taken. If the council was planning a temporary fix to reopen the bridge it should have done so by now, not some time next year. The bridge has already been closed over a year, so the council should by now be moving ahead with the full restoration the bridge deserves; half-measures are simply not acceptable.
“It doesn’t seem to make sense for the council to spend £400,000 on a temporary measure which could take another year to put in place, will not fully reopen the whole bridge, and could prove unsightly. The council could save this money and simply start work on the full restoration immediately. If the council is having difficulty funding all the work then perhaps they should open discussions with Crest Nicholson as this is one of the key gateways into the Western Riverside development.”