RESIDENTS, ramblers and farmers are angry over what they claim is Cumbria County Council’s failure to preserve a protected bridge once sketched by fell-walker and author Alfred Wainwright.
Two years ago Jane Belshaw, of Rossil Bridge Farm near Whinfell on the outskirts of Kendal, contacted the local authority to alert it to the fact that Rossil Bridge, a 300-year-old listed site of historical significance, was beginning to develop large cracks.
Despite a visit from a highways officer and further calls from the Belshaw family no action has been taken to restore the bridge that is famously depicted in Wainwright’s book ‘Three Westmorland Rivers: The Kent, The Sprint and The Mint’.
After two harsh winters, the bridge is now crumbling into the River Mint below, and campaigners for the bridge’s restoration say it poses a serious risk to the high numbers of ramblers that pass over it daily.
Mrs Belshaw said: “Two years ago we contacted the council when cracks began to appear in the protected monument.
“The council did nothing and now there are bits dropping off it and half of one side has gone.
“Every stone depends on the other so every time another bit goes the rest of the bridge is in danger. It’s very precarious. Nobody wants to claim responsibility for it, they’re all passing the buck.”
Her husband Terry Belshaw said: “The people who are responsible for it have allowed it to get this bad. If the council had done something sooner then it wouldn’t be in this state now.”
A neighbouring farmer, who did not wish to be named, said he believed that Rossil Bridge was just one flood away from being washed down the river completely.
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In response, Charlotte Thompson, a Communications Advisor for Cumbria County Council, said: “We have been made aware of the issue of the bridge near Rossil Bridge Farm and it is currently programmed for repairs in our bridge works programme.
“We hope to begin work on the bridge in the summer, as the repairs are weather dependent.
“However, as it is a listed structure we will first need to seek approval from South Lakeland District Council as the planning authority.”