Kendal bridge closure 'catastrophic' for business

Bridge closure Image copyright Cumbria Road Police
Image caption It is not yet known when the bridge will reopen

The closure of a bridge left badly damaged during widespread flooding in 2015 has been branded "catastrophic" for local businesses.

Kendal's Victoria Bridge was found to be at risk of collapse after heavy rain further weakened part of its supports at the weekend.

The Grade II-listed structure carries the A6 through the town's one-way system and diversions are in place.

Cumbria County Council said it was preparing a timetable for the closure.

The structure - also known as the "Batman Bridge" due to its decorative detail - was already undergoing repairs after it was damaged during Storm Desmond in December 2015.

'Marie Celeste'

However, the crossing remained open while the works took place.

Patrick Brennand, who runs a filling station on the road just north of the bridge, said: "It's actually quite catastrophic.

"Yesterday the A6 was like the Marie Celeste, you could have had a party in the middle of the empty road, which is normally so busy."

Local MP, Tim Farron said it showed an "urgent need" for a bypass.

He said: "Given the narrow streets and bridges, our town centre isn't designed for modern traffic and therefore it doesn't take a lot for things to go wrong.

"A northern relief road would take lorries and other traffic out of the town centre, be more resilient to events and enable us to make the town centre more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists."

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