Work starts on protecting historic stone bridge in Keynsham

Work has started to repair and protect a historic 17th century stone bridge in Keynsham’s Dapps Hill conservation area.

The work, which aims to prevent the ancient Cook Steel Mill bridge from suffering further erosion and harm, is taking place thanks to efforts of Keynsham Councillor Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South), who has been lobbying Council officers for over a year to try and ensure the much-needed repairs are carried out to the bridge.

Councillor Alan Hale explained:

“I first raised concerns with the Council about this bridge after residents informed me it was on an English Heritage list of structures deemed to be ‘under threat’.

“I met with a slow start from Council officers, who originally told me that the bridge had been surveyed and that no work was necessary.  However, I then took the Council’s Chief Executive to see the bridge first-hand during a walk-about of the area.  This helped push the issue up the Council’s agenda and meant a further survey was carried out.  This second survey then revealed that remedial work was in fact necessary.”

The bridge carries little vehicular traffic but is a well-used pedestrian way for children who attend Wellsway School living west of the river and for adults who walk into town from the upper Wellsway area.

The work will involve repairs to arch rings, spandrel walls and cut waters.  Some delays have been experienced due to bat surveys and consultations with English Heritage. 

Councillor Hale added:

“It has been frustrating that once I had overcome what seemed like a degree of disbelief that anything needed doing, the progress was hampered by surveys for bats and then the onset of winter. If there is anything that I have learnt from being a councillor it is that determination and a willingness not to be put off will hopefully win the day.

“I am delighted that persistence has paid-off, and that part of the town’s heritage and history will be given a new lease of life, whilst at the same time a safe journey to school for local children is maintained.”