Historic Northumberland bridge constructed after King James complained about its predecessor to get £800,000 refurbishment

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An historic 17th Century bridge across the River Tweed at Berwick is to undergo an £800,000 refurbishment.

The work on the Grade I listed Old Bridge will build on the £250,000 repairs carried out over the past year.

Work will start this summer and involve waterproofing and repairs to the masonry parapets.

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Engineers are currently preparing the design ready for approval by Historic England, whose consent is necessary before work can begin.

Councillors Catherine Seymour,  Glen Sanderson, Georgina Hill and Gregah Roughead.Councillors Catherine Seymour,  Glen Sanderson, Georgina Hill and Gregah Roughead.
Councillors Catherine Seymour, Glen Sanderson, Georgina Hill and Gregah Roughead.

Berwick councillors Georgina Hill, Gregah Roughead and Catherine Seymour said: “The Old Bridge is an iconic structure for the town and this scheme will ensure it’s protected for future generations.”

The iconic 15-arch structure was built between 1611 and 1634 by James Burrell out of red sandstone. Its construction came about after King James VI of Scotland, while travelling south to his coronation as King of England in 1603, complained about the dilapidated wooden bridge.

The bridge was almost complete in 1621, but severe flooding caused damage which put back its completion by several years.

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Emergency repairs had to be carried out after a small section of Pier 8 fell into the River Tweed in November 2018.

The investment is part of this year’s £18.6million Local Transport Plan (LTP), which will see a raft of repair, restoration and maintenance projects benefiting pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in all parts of the county.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Once again we will be delivering an ambitious and wide range of improvement projects throughout the county over the next year.

“The projects range from new walking and cycling schemes to major road and bridge improvement initiatives.

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“From Riding Mill to Blyth, and Cornhill to Cramlington, these schemes are designed to improve not just our roads network but also the safety for our residents right across the county.

“The LTP funding, added to the recent government funding for rural roads and bridge repairs means we’ll be spending over £30million on our roads over the next 12 months.”

Northumberland County Council has also earmarked an additional £15million over the next two years for further rural road and path schemes, the details of which will be announced shortly.