A RIGHT of way over the Wye in Lydbrook may reopen in 2019

if a financially viable solution can be found, according to Gloucestershire County Council.

Ideas for the 150-year-old Black Bridge, including building a new bridge deck for the existing structure or providing a completely new bridge next to the original one, were presented at a recent meeting with the Black Bridge steering group.

The bridge was closed in 2016 after it was found to be in very poor condition and unsafe for use.

Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood said: “The bridge remains a serious safety risk and should not be used by members of the public.

“We know how important this route is to the local community and every option is being considered to make it safe for public use once more. I was pleased to meet with the Black Bridge group to look at ways to make this possible, and we will continue to work together to try and secure the bridge’s future.

“The county council shares the group’s goal of reopening the public right of way over the bridge as soon as possible. The challenge is to find a solution that is financially viable, and officers are working

with colleagues at Herefordshire County Council and the Wye Valley AONB to prepare a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, this would mean the bridge could reopen in 2019.”

Cllr Terry Hale, county councillor for Drybrook and Lydbrook, said: “We want to bring Black Bridge back into use for people to enjoy now and for years to come, and it is encouraging to be working with people across the community

to find a solution.”

Walkers are asked not to attempt to cross the bridge or remove the fencing, which is there to protect both them and the bridge from harm.

Any community groups interested in working with the councils should contact the county council at major [email protected]. For more information visit www.gloucestershire.