Charminster bridge to be replaced to prevent flooding

Charminster bridge Image copyright Susan Pearson
Image caption The low arches of the 16th Century bridge dams the flowing river water during heavy rainfall

A grade II-listed bridge in Dorset that was blamed for causing severe floods is to be dismantled and replaced.

Charminster bridge was previously untouchable due to its historic status, but authorities agreed its small arches restricted the flow of the River Cerne.

English Heritage will now allow the 16th Century bridge to be replaced with a new one that has bigger arches.

The bridge had been blamed for nearly wrecking a nearby grade I-listed church during the January 2014 floods.

Dorset County Council, which has worked with the Environment Agency on the project, said the replacement bridge would "reflect the character" of the existing bridge, and would use "as many of the original bricks as possible".

Image copyright Laurence Herdman
Image caption The bridge was blamed for flooding St Mary the Virgin church with over 1ft (30cm) of water in January 2014

The existing historic parapets will also used on the new bridge.

Work on the new bridge is planned for May, which includes raising the road surface by 30cm to accommodate the larger arches. The road would be closed to both vehicles and pedestrians until October.

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