Bridge demolition plans put on hold

The North Bridge, Newburgh
The North Bridge, Newburgh

Plans to demolish an ageing bridge at Newburgh have been put on hold.

The village’s North Bridge was closed earlier this year amid safety concerns due to its corrosive condition.

This is a good outcome for now

Cllr Richard Thomson Ellon and District

Council officials recommended the structure should be razed, as the cost of repairs or a replacement would be too high.

But at a recent meeting of Formartine Area Committee, councillors deferred a decision pending an estimate of repair costs and agreed that community consultation should take place on future options.

The North Bridge is one of three crossings in Newburgh over the Foveran Burn which are regarded as important links for residents and visitors to recreational areas to the east of the village.

The nearby Butchers Bridge was replaced last autumn

Foveran Community Council reported its concern over the condition of the North Bridge to Aberdeenshire Council in January.

It was closed after an inspection revealed severe corrosion on handrail posts and cracks on the decking panels.

The cost of demolition is £30,000 while the estimated bill for replacement would be £400,000-£500,000.

Community councillors claim there is a strong case for repairing the structure, rather than taking it down.

At the area committee. Ellon and District Councillor Richard Thomson moved for deferral in order to get estimated costs for repairs and for a bridge management plan to be drawn up.

He said after the meeting: “This is a good outcome for now. Bluntly, I didn’t think it was appropriate to make a decision to demolish the bridge at an estimated cost of £30,000 without at least getting a better idea of how much it would cost to repair and of how long any repairs would be likely to last.

“I’m pleased that councillors supported a deferral which will give officers time to obtain this information, which can then help everyone reach a more considered view on how best to proceed.”

He added: “Looking to the future, given what’s happened to the northern bridge, it’s more important than ever to make sure that both of the other bridges are being maintained properly.

“I hope that having a bridge management plan put in place will help us to ensure that this is the case going forward.”

Foveran Community Council welcomed the outcome.

Secretary Glen Douglas said: “We are pleased that no decision was made at the Formartine Area Committee meeting, and that Aberdeenshire Council was asked to provide a report as to the cost of refurbishment, also a plan for future maintenance

It was noted that the community would be involved in the decision process for the bridge, and Foveran Community Council look forward to working with Aberdeenshire Council on this project.”

In the meantime, the bridge will remain closed.