FRUSTRATED walkers will continue to face impasse at a ‘bridge of sighs’ after a plank of hope was removed due to local authority error.
The Independent revealed in April how Brookdale Footbridge – between Dobcross and Uppermill – was on Oldham Council’s list of “urgent work’ at a cost of nearly £100,000.
The bridge, across the River Tame, close to Newbank Garden Centre and shut since early 2015, is off limits as it shows ‘visual signs of distortion’ and moves significantly when used.
OMBC intended to spend £98,472 to remove and replace the three main timber beams, replace the rotten footway timbers and re-fix the handrails to get it back open again.
However, an OMBC spokesperson admitted: “This was a genuine mistake and we are sorry for the confusion this may have caused.
“The Dobcross Garden Centre bridge is on private land and if any works are to be undertaken, they must be done so privately.”
Saddleworth North councillor, Garth Harkness says news of the U-turn is disappointing but the community will continue to campaign for the bridge to re-open.
He said: “After a long-time campaigning, like many residents, I was thrilled to hear that the bridge was planned to be repaired.
“Then following discussions with the Dobcross Village Community group and the Ramblers’ Association there seemed to be something wrong.
“I have now been told that there was a mix up between different departments at Oldham Council.
“But they have reverted back to the original position that it is a private bridge and they will not repair it. This is very disappointing news.”
He added: “The path is not a definitive right of way. However, there has been a path at this location for about 25 years.
“I asked the council about 18 months ago that this be explored and progress has been slow.
“The DVC and Ramblers Association have been working on an application for a ‘right of way’ and the misinformation in a council press release has delayed it.
“It is a private bridge but if it is a right of way we can put pressure on the owners to repair it.
“We need to keep on and get what the residents want and get this bridge re-opened.”