AFTER many years of British Waterways stating it was liable for £2 millions for the repair of Sutton Swing Bridge on the Weaver, it has reneged, stating it is not liable, Tom Reynolds reveals.
It was Tom who started the whole campaign of repainting the neglected swing bridge, and he now points out though he was successful in leading the struggle to get Cheshire West & Chester Council to eventually agree to the £1.5 million, with the waterways authority backing out it means the council taxpayers will now be responsible for whole £3.5 millions.
It seems the council did not check its contractual agreement with the then British Waterways, which allowed it to back out of its promise to provide £2 millions towards the bridge, by quoting an amended 1982 agreement.
Need it be a swing bridge?
This could now involve a re-appraisal of the scheme proposed by British Waterways and an assessment of whether the bridge needs to be a swing bridge at all, bearing in mind it only opened 50 times a year, the majority of these openings being to test the winching gear.
Tom believes that to lower the cost the priority should be on minimal disruption for the 7.3m vehicle crossings each year and the need to ensure the bridge was a secure emergency exit in case of motorway disruption.