Huge funding bid for Rothbury secured

Cllr Steven Bridgett at the landslip near Rothbury.
Cllr Steven Bridgett at the landslip near Rothbury.
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A £5million grant has been approved to help carry out crucial repair work to a main road closed by a landslip at Christmas.

The seven-figure sum, from the Department for Transport’s Local Pinch Point Fund, will cover the majority of the cost of fixing part of the B6344, near Rothbury, which has been closed following the slide on Boxing Day.

It is believed that the total repair cost will be up to £7.5million and Northumberland County Council is expected to meet the shortfall.

Coun Steven Bridgett, ward member for Rothbury, said: “To say I am over the moon is an understatement.

“This is a massive boost for Coquetdale.”

The application for Pinch Point funding to help pay for repairs to the embankment, road and surrounding area was submitted by the county council.

Drilling work is ongoing at the site to establish the exact cause and a way forward for the work and a report is expected within the next month.

The campaign to secure the funding was made succesful thanks to the hard work of MP Sir Alan Beith and Coun Bridgett.

Sir Alan said: “This is excellent news for the village of Rothbury and the surrounding area, and I am very grateful to Liberal Democrat MP Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who visited the site of the landslip in January and saw for himself the severity of the collapse, and to Transport Minister Norman Baker for recognising how important it is to get the road re-opened.

“Local councillor Steven Bridgett has tirelessly campaigned for action on the road, and the team of officers at County Hall also deserve our thanks.”

Coun Bridgett added: “The bid to the pinch point fund which was submitted by our team at County Hall was an excellent one and this has been reflected by this result.

“I would also like to say a huge thank-you to MP Sir Alan Beith and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP, as without them our application would have failed at the first hurdle”.

The announcement for the funding was made at the same time as another bid for £2.26million for a full structural refurbishment of the 130-year-old bridge across the River Tyne between Ovingham and Prudhoe.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is excellent news for Northumberland. The funding from government will help us invest in the highway network and will enable us to proceed with this vital work.

“It’s a great boost for the local residents and businesses that can look forward to things returning to normal in their communities. Last but not least, huge thanks to the team from Northumberland County Council’s Highways and Neighbourhood Services who prepared the bid, which is now successful.”