South Scotland

Union Chain Bridge work seeks increased funding support

Union Chain Bridge Image copyright Friends of the Union Chain Bridge
Image caption The council is being asked to increase its financial support for the project

A council is being asked to increase its financial contribution to a proposed £7.8m upgrade of a bridge linking Scotland and England.

The Union Chain Bridge - built in 1820 - crosses the River Tweed from Fishwick in Berwickshire to Horncliffe in Northumberland.

It has been on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register since 2013.

Scottish Borders Council has already committed £550,000 to the overhaul but is being asked to contribute £1m.

When it was officially opened nearly 200 years ago, the structure was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world.

However, it has become structurally unsafe and can now only be accessed by one light vehicle at a time.

Northumberland County Council (NCC), Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and the Friends of Union Chain Bridge are working together on the project to safeguard the future of the bridge near Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Image copyright Friends of the Union Chain Bridge
Image caption It is hoped the works can be completed in time for the bridge's 200th anniversary

It requires urgent conservation and engineering repairs to secure its future.

A funding bid for the restoration is now being prepared for the Heritage Lottery Fund, with a maximum of £5m available towards the bulk of the work.

NCC has approved a report increasing its financial commitment to £1m and now SBC is being asked to do the same.

It would see funding from its roads and bridges capital budget diverted to the project.

It is hoped the works can be completed in time for the 200th anniversary of the bridge's opening in 2020.

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