A BRING Back Our Bridge campaign has been launched in a South Lakeland village still suffering the effects of last autumn’s floods.

Backbarrow has been cut in two since the November deluge washed away a vital footbridge and damaged a road crossing over the River Leven.

Both remain closed and according to Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron the closure of the road bridge is threatening the future of the village shop.

The campaign has been given added impetus after Cumbria County Council announced it was not plan-ning to replace it until 2011.

“We’ve heard a lot about the work being done to reconnect communities further north in the county, but residents in Backbarrow have heard very little,” said Mr Farron.

“The damaged road bridge is causing real hardship to local residents, and is even threatening the viability of the village shop.”

Liberal Democrat county councillor for the area, Coun Rod Wilson: “I’m frustrated by the lack of movement in all this.

“I’m working hard to speed the process up and to make sure we re-connect the comm-unity as soon as we can.

“I’m working to make sure the community is not forgot-ten and all the promises that were made to Backbarrow last year are delivered on.”

Business owners and resid-ents have added their weight to the campaign calling on the county to act quicker to reunite the village.

Tyrone Fitzgerald, general manager of the Whitewater Hotel and Leisure Club, over-looking the bridges, said: “Next year is simply not acceptable and the current situation is certainly having a detrimental effect on our business. The season is fast approaching and the village is split in two. It’s ridiculous.

“People do not know how to get round and the signage is so bad that it causing may-hem in terms of traffic.”

Jim Godwin, who manages the Lakeland Village Time Share Holiday Resort, believ-es the footbridge’s design added to the problems when the river flooded.

“The flooding caused £1 million damage to 10 holiday cottages and while everybody wants the bridge repaired as it is the lifeblood of the village, the design of the bridge add-ed to the problems.

“When it flooded, the water got caught behind the para-pet and when it eventually broke off, the waters receed-ed, so I do believe there need to be gaps of some sort – or perhaps Georgian railings, as they have in Kendal – to ensure the same thing does not happen in the future.”

Mary Hodge, 79, of Brow Edge Road, said: “It’s scandal-ous in this day and age that we are cut off by a bridge that should have been repaired straight after the water subs-ided. It’s like the Middle Ages and I cannot get to the shops.”

Chair of Haverthwaite Par-ish Council Mike Pye, said: “The village store and other businesses are being hit hard, and if the store does not surv-ive we run the very real risk of the outreach post office closing as it operates out of the store three days a week.”

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said a bid had been submitted to the Rural Devel-opment Programme for Engl-and for the rebuilding of Backbarrow footbridge – and that it was fourth on a priority list of flood-damaged bridges.